P.V. Could Supply 2 Billion Households
Sep 19, 2006 - Green Building Press
Photovoltaic solar panels could generate
enough electricity to supply 2 billion households
by 2025, according to a report by Greenpeace and the
European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA).
The report, Solar Generation, says that the PV industry
would be capable of producing 276 terawatt hours (TWh)
of electricity a year worldwide by 2020, rising to
589TWh by 2025, and cutting carbon dioxide emissions
by 350 million tonnes a year.
By 2025, the
industry could employ 3.2 million people and supply
1.6 billion off-grid and 290 million grid-connected
customers, the report says. By 2040, it could be meeting
16% of world electricity demand, compared to 0.05%
at present. However, it warns that "a major shift
in energy policy will be needed" if the industry is
to fulfill its potential. It calls for all countries
to follow the example of those with good support systems
for solar energy, such as Germany and Japan.
Teske, a Hamburg-based climate and energy campaigner
at Greenpeace, said that the projected take-up is
much higher for homes not connected to electricity
grids, because solar power is already competitive
with alternatives such as diesel generators. But the
majority of off-grid customers are in the developing
world, and so cannot afford to buy the equipment without
assistance, even though it would prove cheaper in
the long-run. "What we need is smart financing schemes,"
PV will be competitive for grid-connected customers
in central and southern Europe, where electricity
prices are already high, by 2012-15, Teske added.
Winfried Hoffman, president of the EPIA, said that
in 2006, the solar industry would invest well over
€1 billion [€1.27 billion] along the whole value chain
in new solar factories and R&D. Gradually the increasing
investment would expand the economy of scale and lower
the costs for solar photovoltaic systems. She believs
that the global PV industry is ready to invest even
more for years to come, but says there must be a supportive
political climate for the next 10 years to enable
the investment to pay off.
Green Building Press