In a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, it is predicted that approximately $3.7 trillion will be spent on global solar power investments through 2040.
This BNEF prediction describes a major shift from away from fossil fuels over the next 25 years. The $3.7 trillion investment in solar will provide about 35 percent of new electric capacity over this time period. Almost two-thirds of this amount will be for local, distributed solar power generation.
However, the report also predicts that fossil fuels, especially coal, will still provide about 45 percent of our energy needs. This will contribute to a continued rise in global CO2 emissions through to 2029.
As with any forward looking reports, many assumptions had to be made. The methodology of the report did not take into account the EPA’s Clean Power Plan or any new subsidies that may come into play. It is also not likely that the report considered the idea that solar power, combined with battery storage, could be cheaper than coal well before 2040.
There’s a case to be made for an even more optimistic stance on our sources of energy in the near future. The citizens of the world are beginning to demand more clean energy production. So while coal might still be slightly cheaper than solar plus battery storage in the near term, utilities and power corporations can be pressured to do the right thing. In fact, this idea is already happening as world leaders continue to have climate meetings. We do not have to accept the status quo and assume that coal must continue to be a major source of energy into the coming decades.
Our clean energy revolution is happening more quickly than many realize, including the number crunchers working for Bloomberg. We truly are living in a transformative time. Many industries are being disruptive at a rapid pace, energy being no exception.
Let’s hope that solar power continues to surpass expectations on our way to an eventually 100 percent clean energy society.