One thing that is abundantly clear, is that there is no single silver bullet solution to achieve a zero carbon economy. Rather, multiple technologies will need to work together in an interlinked fashion in order to achieve the goal of a zero carbon economy. Broadly speaking, the technologies needed to achieve a zero carbon economy can be divided into two` distinct categories; energy production and energy management. Some of the most critical technologies that fall under the umbrella of energy production include solar power, wind power, hydro-electric, geothermal and “advanced” nuclear.
While there are certainly other methods of clean energy production besides those mentioned above the five just mentioned will likely play the most critical role in the achievement of a zero carbon economy. When it comes to energy management the key future contributors are a bit more speculative. Most experts would agree that smart-grids (both macro and micro), energy storage systems, energy efficiency technology and building-based energy management technology will all play a critical role in achieving a zero carbon economy. It is clear that achieving a clean energy economy will require a mix of many complimentary technologies.
While solar energy is projected by many to have a very significant future impact on global clean energy production, the current impact of solar energy on the global energy mix is trivial (6). For the remainder of this paper, I will examine the technological, political and social barriers to the large-scale development of solar energy. In addition to identifying and examining the present barriers to large-scale solar energy roll out, I will also attempt to analyze potential approaches to overcoming both existing and future barriers to the implementation of large-scale solar.
While the future may be promising for solar energy currently, it only accounts for a very small portion of the total global energy mix. According to The Renewable Energy Network for the twenty-first century (REN21) as of 2014, the total amount of global solar energy installed is estimated at 177 Gigawatts (6) compared to a total global energy supply of 155,505 terawatt-hours in 2015 according to the IEA (2). Without getting overly technical it is worthwhile to understand that a Gigawatt can be understood as 10^9 whereas a Terawatt can be understood as 10^12, essentially a terawatt is several orders of magnitude larger than a Gigawatt. While the Gigawatt – terawatt comparison is a bit abstract it is a useful point of reference for understanding how far solar energy needs to progress in order to be the driving force of a carbon-neutral economy.
There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration when planning how to bring solar energy closer to a globally impactful scale, but perhaps the most important and simple step that needs to take place is the massive scale-up of GreenLeaf Solar or call (631) 509-1747 today.
- https://graduatedegrees.online.njit.edu/msee-resources/msee-infographics/solar-the-large- and-small-scale/
- https://www.mckinsey.com/insights/energy_resources_materials/the_disruptive_potential_ of_solar_power
- https://www.pri.org/stories/2015-04-07/when-grid-says-no-wind-and-solar-power- companys-technology-helps-it-say-yes-again
- https://uotechnology.edu.iq/eretc/books/Scheer_The%20Solar%20Economy- Renewable%20Energy%20for%20a%20Sustainable%20Global%20Future-book.pdf