Solar energy has potential to dominate by 2030

Nov 16, 2005
Sun light

Professor Andrew Blakers from The Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems at the Australian National University will today report to the Greenhouse 2000 Conference in Melbourne that photovoltaic (PV) solar energy conversion can be cost-competitive with any low-emission electricity generation technology by 2030.

His paper describes how extrapolation of the huge economic and technical gains made by photovoltaics over the last 15 years gives confidence that a dramatic shift in electricity generation technology over the next quarter-century is possible.

Worldwide photovoltaic sales are growing at 40 to 50% per year. Government research & market support for photovoltaics of around $400 billion spread over the next 25 years can deliver the technology required to eliminate electricity production as a contributor to climate change. This is a large sum of money - similar to the cost of the Iraq war – but it is dwarfed by the $23 trillion expected investment in oil exploration out to 2030 or the $24 trillion investment in PV systems required to generate half of the world’s electricity by 2040.

Professor Blakers will also describe Sliver solar cell technology, which was invented at Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland, by Dr Klaus Weber and Professor Blakers in 2000 while attending a conference. Origin Energy, one of the sponsors of the Greenhouse 2000 Conference, is commercialising Sliver technology in Adelaide.

Work at ANU shows that Sliver solar cell technology can achieve electricity costs below retail electricity costs within five years, with the right investment. Explosive growth in sales in the commercial and residential sector will then follow.

Professor Blakers said that Sliver solar cell technology “can go all the way.”

“It’s not difficult to envisage Sliver based technology delivering electricity at a cost that matches wind energy, zero-emission coal and other clean energy technologies. No leap of faith is required; just careful engineering and adaptation of existing techniques from other industries,” he said.

Dr Weber added that it is essential to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel based electricity generation in order to limit climate change. The cost of doing this with advanced solar technology will be far lower than the pessimistic forecasts advanced by some analysts.

“The key to a clean energy future is the setting of clear and challenging targets and the provision of reliable, long-term support to the solar industry. The industry will respond and deliver the required technology," Dr Weber said.

Source: Australian National University

Explore further: New book explores link between emotions and contemporary racial violence

Related Stories

New 'designer carbon' boosts battery performance

4 hours ago

Stanford University scientists have created a new carbon material that significantly boosts the performance of energy-storage technologies. Their results are featured on the cover of the journal ACS Central Sc ...

How researchers listen for gravitational waves

May 28, 2015

A century ago, Albert Einstein postulated the existence of gravitational waves in his General Theory of Relativity. But until now, these distortions of space-time have remained stubbornly hidden from direct ...

Recycling nuclear waste via advanced reactor design

May 28, 2015

An advanced nuclear reactor under development by Hitachi could help solve the nuclear waste problem, and University of Michigan researchers were involved in verifying its safe performance through computer ...

Recommended for you

Why do people waste so much time at work?

20 hours ago

Based on research undertaken at Cass Business School, City University London, Professor Fleming explores how the act of working is no longer about survival and self-preservation, but has now morphed into ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.