Ocean warming and acidification have devastating effects on our oceans: coral bleaching, species migration, mollusks’ and planktons’ stunted growth are only some of the impacts our fossil fuel economy is having on the planet’s most precious ecosystem. Solar power is currently the most promising energy source to replace fossil fuels and enable a clean energy economy.
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) deployment has seen a rapid rise, however its contribution to global electricity generation was still only around 1.2% in 2015 (International Energy Agency). But here is the exciting news: the Renewables 2017 Global Status Report (released on 7 June) detailed that increase in installed renewable power capacity set new records in 2016, rising by almost 9 per cent over 2015, to nearly 2,017 GW. According to the report, solar PV accounted for around 47 per cent of the capacity added. China in fact doubled its solar production in one year. Why such growth?
Costs have plummeted since 1975. Dramatic cost reductions have been the primary driver behind global market expansion (IRENA 2016). Investment in renewables has been rising worldwide, with solar and wind representing about 90% of investments in 2015. Solar PV was the largest renewable energy employer in 2015, supporting 2.8 million jobs (IRENA 2016).