Photovoltaics could supply 16% of the world’s electricity by 2050, and concentrating solar could provide another 11%, if countries have the political will to make it happen, the International Energy Agency reported earlier this month.
“The rapid cost decrease of photovoltaic modules and systems in the last few years has opened new perspectives for using solar energy as a major source of electricity in the coming years and decades,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. But in its latest technology roadmaps for the two forms of solar, the IEA warns that “clear, credible, and consistent signals from policy-makers” will be needed to sustain investor confidence.
In an interview with InsideClimate News, Senior Project Manager David Elzinga noted that the IEA’s estimate of future photovoltaic costs fell 40% between 2012 and 2014. He added that the low-carbon transition will require a $44-trillion investment, but will save $115 trillion over time. “I think everybody understands an investment, and that sometimes it will cost money up front, but if it saves you money in the future, it can be a good move,” he told ICN’s Elizabeth Douglass.