Anyone who follows developments in the energy sector will know that solar energy is no longer just the future but the present. According to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2020, photovoltaic solar energy is already the cheapest source of electricity in history. We are not talking about the future, but about the present, about current installations.
Under these conditions, the fact that solar energy was able to cover the entire demand in South Australia for the first time on October 12 should not surprise us: you can bet we will see this repeated in many more places, on many more occasions and for increasingly longer periods. The progressive increase in efficiency and decrease in the cost of photovoltaic panels is turning solar energy into the logical alternative for electricity generation. What’s more, the technology continues to evolve and that there are still incipient possibilities, such as perovskites, which promise substantial efficiency increases.
As a result, solar panels can now be fitted anywhere, covering water canals in India, on canopies over Germany’s autobahns, or on school roofs in the United States. When the economic variables of a technology change in this way, creating an oversized electricity generation grid based on solar and wind is the logical alternative, and whoever does not do so will be relegated to less efficient and, above all, dirtier energy sources.
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Solar and wind are the present and future not so much for environmental issues, but economics: the British government admits that solar and wind energy has proved between 30% and 50% cheaper than initially estimated, adding that renewable energies were able, during the first quarter of 2020, to cover no less than 47% of the country’s total electricity demand. In Germany, the figures are similar: between January and June this year, 42% of electricity consumed was generated by the sun and the wind.
Decarbonizing energy and the economy is the only logical way forward. Solar and wind energy, supplemented with storage technologies, are already the most efficient way to feed the energy fabric of a country. The mathematics makes it clear: electric vehicles powered by batteries recharged by solar energy are the logical alternative to the internal combustion engine.
Everything else you thought you knew about energy, the myths and legends about alternatives that were only viable thanks to subsidies, or the alleged problems with supply when the sun was not shining or the wind blowing are either wrong, misinformed or outdated. Update yourself, and act accordingly. For your sake, and for everyone’s.