Within the next five years, renewable energy generation is set to jump by 50%, primarily thanks to an expected rise in the distribution of solar panel installations on residential and public buildings.
Forecasts made by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in a new report expect the production of an extra 1,200 gigawatts of renewable energy, globally, by 2024. This figure puts the additional sum on par with the current annual energy production of the entire United States.
However, this is still set to be well below the figure required to meet global sustainable energy targets, despite renewables being the world’s second-largest source of energy.
In their report, the IEA predicts that cost reductions and “concerted government efforts” will aid the increased distribution of photovoltaic (PV) systems, which are likely to account for 60% of this additional renewable energy capacity.
The study maintains a focus specifically on what is known as distributed PV systems. These are photovoltaic systems that are installed on small scales on homes and public buildings, not at dedicated solar farms.
Alone, these systems will account for half of the additional solar capacity generated within the next five years.
Three-quarters of this is set to come from installations on industrial buildings, largely as a result of economies of scale, allowing for larger savings on electricity than could be achieved by homeowners installing one or two panels.
Already, the cost of generating electricity from distributed solar PV systems is below retail electricity prices in the majority of countries, with the IEA expecting further reductions of 15-35% by the year 2024.
In a warning to policy-makers, the report’s authors reinforced that retail electricity tariffs must be reformed, in order to encourage increased investment in distributed PV.
Distributed PV has huge potential, but investment and reform is required to encourage further distribution.
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