Solar energy could be the largest single source of electricity in the world by 2050, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The energy watchdog reports that PV could provide 16% of the world’s electricity and concentrated solar power (CSP) could provide another 11%.

“The rapid cost decrease of photovoltaic modules and systems in the last few years has opened new perspectives for using solar energy as a major source of electricity in the coming years and decades,” said Maria van der Hoeven, executive director, IEA. “However, both technologies are very capital intensive: almost all expenditures are made upfront. Lowering the cost of capital is thus of primary importance for achieving the vision in these roadmaps.”

The IEA’s new technology roadmap for PV reiterates the importance of a stable policy framework to ensure that investment is possible.

“By contrast, where there is a record of policy incoherence, confusing signals or stop-and-go policy cycles, investors end up paying more for their investment, consumers pay more for their energy, and some projects that are needed simply will not go ahead,” added van der Hoeven.

The report expects PV to dominate solar up until 2030 when the addition of storage to CSP will see it close the gap.

The IEA also expects more than half of solar generation capacity to be built at the point of demand.

It also expects China and the US to remain the top to installers for the foreseeable future.

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