World must add 53GW solar PV a year to address climate change | RenewEconomy

World must add 53GW solar PV a year to address climate change

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Citi report forecasts average solar PV installation rate of 53GW/y from 2013-2020 as part of its least-cost scenario for action on climate change.

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A new report has suggested the world will need to install solar PV at an average rate of 53GW a year from 2013-2020 as it transforms its energy mix to prevent dangerous climate change.

As reported here, global investment bank Citigroup has become the latest authoritative source to warn of the high cost – economic and environmental – of inaction on climate change action, and to tally the economic benefits of shifting to low-carbon energy, transport and industrial systems.

Energy markets – as the single biggest emitter of greenhouse gases – are, of course, a big focus. And according to Citi’s ‘action’ scenario, we will need to add a lot of renewable energy to the global power mix if we are to avoid dangerous climate change – and a great deal of that will need to be solar PV.

“In comparison with our Citi ‘Inaction’ scenario, the carbon intensity of the electricity mix drops in our Citi ‘Action’ scenario from 0.54t (CO2
e)/MWh to 0.25t (CO2e)/MWh due to the shift in electricity mix (Figure 69),” the Citi report, published on Tuesday, says.

“In 2040 we estimate that 15.4GTCO2e per year is being saved between both our scenarios. Two-thirds of these savings relate to investments into solar PV and onshore wind while the remaining third is due to energy efficiency investments.”

Citi says that a key difference between its forecasts for renewables growth and those from the International Energy Agency (IEA) is the assumed penetration in the electricity mix. In the particular it says, in its Citi “Action” scenario, its forecasts for solar PV deviate significantly from the IEA’s.

“Our granular country by country solar PV forecasts show an average installation rate of 53GW per annum 2013-2020,” the report says. “This compares to 33-34GW installations by the IEA (lower bound New Policy scenario, upper bound 450 scenario).”

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Citi says that with the rapid fall in the cost of electricity from renewables it expects solar PV to be competitive with conventional fossil fuels by
2030; “and hence there is theoretically no need for further incentives via a carbon price in the power market alone.”

This is what Citi calls Energy Darwinism – as you can see in the charts below. It means that solar PV is going to get cheaper and cheaper – and with battery technology, more reliable – and beat out traditional energy sources, with or without policy help (although the latter is important out to 2030 if we want to get on top of that thing called climate).

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  1. Nick Thiwerspoon 5 years ago

    I don’t understand the “Darwinism Curve” charts. At all.

  2. Rob Campbell 5 years ago

    I did a feasbility (very basic) on a 20km x 20km solar array for Inner Mongolia which is the same latitude as Madrid. The output was 26GW peak, which is the name plate rating of the Three Georges Dam project. The Three Geogres actually only achieves on average 15GW due to lack of feed water. The big issue is transmitting this energy aound the joint. Pumped Hydro is the ideal method of averaging out the output to say !0GW 24/7 but even that needs 800KV DC systems to be efficient. We can put thousands of Gigawatts of solar on the ground, even if we only convert it at 40% efficiency to Hydrogen/Oxygen (or a compund gas) we not only have a transmission method but a massive store for this cheap energy. Remember when the gas explosion happenned in S.A., there was enough gas in the pipes to last many weeks in Victoria.

  3. Mike Ives 5 years ago

    Is there a reference to that Citicorp report Sophie as I would like to comment? According to my back of the envelope calcs, 53GW pa PV for 7 or 8 years will not even scratch the surface even at 100% capacity factor.

  4. Bob Fearn 5 years ago

    Far too little, far too late.

  5. Jonathan Prendergast 5 years ago

    53GW per annum. Based on population, this equates to 174 MW per annum in Australia. So we are 5 times higher than required at the current rate. Seems a bit easy and doesn’t seem right!

  6. highland58 5 years ago

    Now if we just had cheap home batteries capable of storing that power for when the sun is not shining…

  7. Kyle Field 5 years ago

    What’s not accounted for here is the fact that the fossil fuel industry CURRENTLY gets more government subsidies than solar. Take those away and heck, even the solar subsidies and I’ll call it good. If nothing else, that helps reset pricing to baseline…

  8. john 5 years ago

    Frankly no action will be taken I feel
    due to timidly of governments.
    Because people are very ill informed and when informed they realise that their grand kids children’s problem is so removed from their real life experience they will blissful ignore the actions they are taking.

  9. Robert 5 years ago

    Notice how the solar growth flats out at 2016 (when rebates fall).
    Hopefully, industry will make it much cheaper to keep installers working (and ward off political polarization).

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