Solar is crowned “king of the world’s electricity markets” in new IEA report

Today the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its flagship World Energy Outlook 2020, modelling different growth scenarios for the future global energy system. Central to the report is the revelation that solar offers the “cheapest electricity in history”, leading Executive Director of the IEA, Dr Fatih Birol, to note that “solar [is] 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.”

Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe, said: “The new data from the IEA confirms what our studies have shown: solar will become the number one energy source in Europe, and is ready to play a leading role in transitioning Europe to a climate-neutral energy system.”

Here are the highlights of the report:

  • Within 5 years, solar will be the number one electricity capacity in Europe, if Europe follows its net zero goal.
  • Within 5 years, renewables led by solar will overtake coal as the primary global electricity source
  • The main scenario has 43% more solar output by 2040 than it expected in 2018, due to new analysis showing that solar is 20-50% cheaper than previously thought

The low cost of solar is explicitly noted as driving the global demand for renewables. In fact, solar is cheaper than any power source ever before. The new report backtracks on the IEA’s 2019 prognosis for solar, which underestimated its cost by 20-50%. The main model forecasts that renewables, led by solar, are set to overtake coal in global electricity demand by 2025.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the report shows that solar and renewables provided the energy resilience, achieving the only growth during that period in the entire energy system. The report is clear that solar as the “king” of renewables, will play a leading role in the world’s future energy system.

Read the full report here.

Photo: Soltec

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