The Path to Drawdown:
Solving climate change and remaining below 1.5ºC of global warming requires a wholesale shift away from fossil fuels and toward using 100% emissions-free sources.
The most powerful source of this clean energy is the sun. Photovoltaic or PV solar panels (the kind you see on rooftops) have emerged as the predominant way of capturing the sun's energy and turning it into electricity. This industry has been growing fast: as of 2020, solar panels are the cheapest source of electricity in most places on earth.
Solar produces ~2% of global electricity today. According to Project Drawdown, to be on a path to remain under 1.5ºC of warming, utility scale solar (as opposed to rooftop solar) will need to be generating a combined ~26% of global electricity by 2050.
To get there, the PV solar industry needs to keep massively scaling over the few next decades:
- <::marker> 720 TWh of solar electricity was generated in 2019
- <::marker> 28,200 TWh is needed by 2050
- <::marker> That’s a CAGR of 12.56% from 2019 - 2050
Analysis from the IEA also predicts that, to reach a 100% clean electricity grid by 2050, annual solar panel manufacturing capacity will need to scale from 737 GW in 2020 to 4,956 GW in 2030 (p.198).