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Solar is becoming the new king of the world’s electricity markets: IEA

International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol

By Anyway Yotamu

HARARE – Solar output is expected to lead a surge in renewable power supply worldwide in the next decade, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has said.

Renewables account for 80%  growth in global electricity generation under current conditions.

In its annual World Energy Outlook released on Tuesday 13 October 2020, the IEA said in its central scenario which reflects policy intentions and targets already announced, renewables are expected to overtake coal as the primary means of producing electricity by 2025.

The combined share of solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind in the global generation will rise to almost 30% in 2030 from 8% in 2019, it said, with solar PV capacity growing by an average 12% a year.

International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol said, “I see solar becoming the new king of the world’s electricity markets, based on today’s policy settings. It is on track to set new records for deployment every year after 2022,” he said.

Maturing technology and support mechanisms have cut financing costs for major solar PV projects and are helping to bring down output costs overall. Solar PV is now cheaper than new coal or gas-fired power plants in most countries,” said Birol.

Power generation from renewables is the only major source of energy that continued to grow in 2020, the Paris-based energy agency said.

“A more ambitious scenario, including for instance the adoption of net-zero emissions targets by 2050, would see PV electricity generation perform more strongly still. Despite the increase in solar and wind power, carbon emissions are projected to pick up in 2021 after a 2.4 gigatonne (GT) drop in 2020, and to exceed 2019 levels in 2027 before growing to 36 Gt in 2030”, said Birol.

Birol further added that gaps remain in many cases between long term ambitions and specific near term plans to curb emissions.

“Integrating new wind and solar power will depend on adequate investment in all parts of the system, including distribution networks. But revenue shortfalls potentially arising from lower than expected demand, non-payment of bills, or the deteriorating finances of utilities in developing economies could make power grids a weak link,” he added.

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