Solar power is set to become the world’s largest source of power by 2035 as the cost of renewables falls, a new report has found.
Publishing its fourth annual analysis of global energy trends, the renewable energy company Statkraft said that solar PV is already the world’s fastest-growing energy source, thanks to the ever-lowering production cost of solar panels and increased demand for renewable energy.
The lifetime costs for solar PV will drop by around half over the next three decades, while wind will become 40% cheaper.
The company estimated that solar PV and wind energy will make up 70% of power generation by 2050, with renewables making up over 80% of the global power sector in total.
Henrik Sætness, Statkraft’s head of corporate strategy and analysis, said: ‘Our analysis shows that the price of renewable technologies decreases faster than most people have anticipated.
‘In most countries it is already profitable to install renewable capacity where new power is required. In areas with abundant sun and wind, building new renewable capacity will soon become more profitable than existing coal or gas power.’
In its global Low Emissions Scenario, Statkraft said solar PV production increased by 25% last year, while solar will meet around 40% of global power demand by 2050.
Wind power, meanwhile, will produce around 30% of the world’s electricity as countries phase out fossil fuels like coal and natural gas.
The company said the world’s electricity demand will more than double by 2050, while renewable energy generation will increase more than six-fold.
Coal and oil will be almost entirely absent from the global power sector by 2050, while natural gas will become the world’s main source of carbon emissions.
Statkraft said its analysis shows that the UK’s best way to decarbonise its energy sector is to fully deploy solar and wind power.
David Flood, Statkraft’s UK managing director, said: ‘Given the government’s net-zero target and increasingly positive political and public sentiment towards onshore wind and solar power projects, we look forward to investing heavily in the UK to help the country decarbonise.’
The company added that the drop in the cost of renewable energy will also make it easier to electrify other sectors such as transport and construction.
The report concluded that almost all new private vehicles and over half of all new HGVs will run on electricity or hydrogen by 2050, when electric and hydrogen HGVs will be available at a similar price to diesel HGVs.
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