The impact of climate change is becoming increasingly severe, causing natural disasters, temperature misalignments, and mass extinction of animal species at an alarming rate. To become carbon-neutral, we must shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, and solar energy is one of the key solutions.
Solar energy is a low-carbon energy source that can effectively and efficiently harvest energy from the sun. With just one hour of sunlight, the sun can supply enough power to satisfy the world’s annual energy demand. Although harvesting this energy has been challenging in the past, modern solar panels can generate electricity from daylight alone, even under a layer of snow.
Solar energy has received significant investment in the past decade, making it the fastest-growing and cheapest energy source to date. Experts agree that solar energy’s success requires cost reductions, improvements in efficiency, and faster deployment worldwide. In the Faster Innovation Case of the IEA, renewable electricity capacity would need to see annual additions of around four times that of 2019.
The growth of solar energy has been remarkable in Asia, particularly in China, Japan, South Korea, and India. Emerging markets in Southeast Asia, such as Vietnam, are also on track to become major players in the solar PV market. Cost declines of 87-92% have been recorded for crystal silicon modules in Europe in the past decade.
Renewables account for three quarters of the total energy generation’s growth, making supportive policies, maturing technologies, and sharp cost reductions crucial for cheap access to capital and affordable solar energy power plants. Energy storage and eliminating the intermittency gap are essential for transforming power systems, and solar energy’s accessibility and affordability make it a vital player in the transition to carbon-free energy sources.