IPCC sets out vast potential for solar power

The full report on Climate Change Mitigation options was published yesterday by the IPCC Working Group III. The report includes a 137 page analysis of the energy system, which is responsible for 35% of global emissions. Renewable energy provided 21% of world electricity demand in 2012.

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The IPCC calculate that renewables can meet world primary energy demand nearly three times over. Of all the technologies, solar energy has the largest technical potential – the “largest by a large magnitude” – exceeding world energy demand on its own.

Solar power is also highlighted as being exceptionally rich in employment opportunities, with 18 and seven times more jobs per unit of power generated than nuclear and wind energy respectively.

STA Head of External Affairs Leonie Greene said:

“The IPCC has done a superb job of identifying the solutions to climate change and showing that transforming our energy system is affordable. It is down to all of us who can afford to act to do so.

“And we need to act today. The Government has made it easy and cost-effective for households to invest in solar and it should be possible to reach one million solar roofs in 2015. Everyone who invests in solar energy today is helping to bring down the costs. The prize is not just clean power, but more stable and lower energy bills for millions of UK homes.

“However, DECC needs to ensure the community, commercial and public sectors can play their part by reforming the Feed-in Tariff scheme to enable the expansion of larger solar roofs. Larger solar roof applications are particularly cost-effective so we need to see urgent action to realise the huge potential here.”

The report says global solar power capacity grew 25 fold from 2005-2012. Since 2009 the levelised cost of solar power has fallen 57%. Solar thermal capacity is more than double solar power capacity, with 255GW installed at the end of 2012.


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