The world is making more efforts to convert to sustainable energy than ever before, and the shift can’t come soon enough. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), hydro, wind, and solar programs are being implemented at the quickest rate in the last four years, and renewable energy is predicted to increase by 50 percent over the following five years.
The IEA report expects 2024 to be a bright new chapter for solar energy. Globally, solar capacity is anticipated to increase by 600GW (gigawatts), and renewable power in general should rise by 1,200GW – roughly the same as the entire electricity capacity of the United States. Solar energy costs are predicted to drop between 15 and 35 percent over the next five years, which should spark even more solar expansion as we move towards the end of the decade.
“This is a pivotal time for renewable energy,” says the Executive Director of the IEA, Fatih Birol. “Technologies such as solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind are at the heart of transformations taking place across the global energy system. Their increasing deployment is crucial for efforts to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, reduce air pollution, and expand energy access.”
What does the future hold for renewable energy?
At the moment, renewable power sources account for roughly 26 percent of electricity worldwide, a figure that is expected to rise by 4 percent in the next five years. This isn’t much in the bigger picture, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
Although advancing climate focus in the European Union and the United States was the most significant factor responsible for the IEA’s increased estimates, it’s China that is likely to establish the most solar and wind energy initiatives.
By 2024, residential housing with solar panels is also thought to reach 100 million rooftops, with the highest expansion per person taking place in California, the Netherlands, Australia, Austria, and Belgium. However, there will still be plenty of room for improvement, as such advancements will still only result in 6 percent of rooftops globally utilizing solar panels.
“Renewables are already the world’s second largest source of electricity, but their deployment still needs to accelerate if we are to achieve long-term climate, air quality, and energy access goals,” says Birol.