The Path to Drawdown: PV Solar
To mitigate climate change and remain below 1.5ºC above pre-industrial global temperature, we need to transition away from burning fossil fuels to 100% emissions-free energy sources.
A powerful source of this clean energy is the sun (along with nuclear, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal energy). Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels (the kind you see on rooftops) have emerged as the predominant way of capturing the sun's energy and converting it into electricity.
The industry has been growing fast. As of 2020, solar panels are now the cheapest source of electricity in most places on earth.
Solar produces around 2% of global electricity today. According to Project Drawdown, to be on the path to remain under 1.5ºC of warming, rooftop and utility scale solar will need to be generating a combined ~40% of global electricity by 2050.
To get there, the PV solar industry will need to keep scaling massively over the few next decades:
- <::marker> 457 TWh of solar electricity generated in 2018
- <::marker> 28,200 TWh needed by 2050
- <::marker> CAGR of 13.75% from 2018 - 2050
Analysis from the IEA also projects that, to reach a 100% clean electricity grid by 2050, annual addition to the solar panel manufacturing capacity will need to increase from 134 GWs in 2020 to 630 GWs in 2030 (p. 74).