Solar power and wind power have both been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years and there is no end in sight to their progress.
According to a recent report by GTM research, solar power will rival the amount of nuclear power generated around the world by the end of this year. Estimates are that there will be 81 GW of new solar power deployed during 2017, which is more than twice as much as in 2014 and 32 times more than was installed 10 years ago. In total, over 380 gigawatts of solar capacity will be in place by the end of the year. This compares to the total of 391 GW of nuclear power operating worldwide.
To be fair, nuclear power still dwarfs solar power in terms of total energy generated because nuclear power plants operate around the clock while solar plants do not. On the other hand, there are new solar power plants all the time and, at the current rate of growth, there could be nearly 900 GW of solar power in operation within five years. Many experts believe solar power will be the world’s largest energy source by 2050.
Meanwhile, wind energy continues to grow as well and the Department of Energy recently reported that additional cost reductions of 50% for wind power are possible by the year 2030. This is on top of the 66% cost reduction that has taken place since 2009.
Wind power already provides the lowest-cost form of electricity in many states and regions without any policy initiatives. There is already more than 500 GW of installed wind power capacity.
Both forms of renewable energy are changing the world.
Photo, posted December 11, 2014, courtesy of Tony Webster via Flickr.