Solar power 'on the verge of overtaking fossil fuels'6th Aug 2012
Countries around the world are finally switching on to the benefits of solar energy, according to one expert.
It may have taken some governments longer than others, said David Hunter Tow, director of the Future Planet Research Centre, but the scales are tipping towards renewables over fossil fuel dependency.
Writing for International News Magazine, he claimed this revelation has come just in time to save humanity's dwindling power supplies.
"Major improvements in the efficiency of solar power, in tandem with advances in the sustainability of homes, workplaces and cities, has at last opened a small window of opportunity to reverse the slide to oblivion," he explained.
According to David, the amount of solar power absorbed by the sun's oceans, land and atmosphere in less than two hours can provide more energy than the world uses in a year.
Not only this, but it is more than twice as much than will ever be generated by fossil fuels, making the sun an essential source of energy over the coming decades.
However, he was quick to point out that some countries are doing more than others, with China and Germany leading the way when it comes to solar power developments.
"Germany already generates four per cent of its energy from solar power. On a sunny day this can increase to over 35 per cent," the industry specialist commented.
Even nations that are traditionally considered to be firmly entrenched in fossil fuel usage are getting involved, with Saudi Arabia announcing plans to create a thermal concentrated solar power industry.
While the country's motives aren't totally altruistic (domestic oil demand is expected to double by 2032, meaning it would lose out on lucrative exports unless it comes up with an alternative), there are still positive indications for the global market.
The Middle Eastern nation's solar power project could allow them to generate a third of their electricity needs by 2032, by focusing the sun with mirrors towards turbines that store the energy in molten salt.
Saudi Arabia also has high silicon production capacity, allowing it to make high-quality polysilicon solar cells, a benefit that has already been snapped up by Germany and South Korea, who have both signed partnerships in this area.
It comes just a week after Australia's Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics published a report showing the benefits of solar technology.
The document predicted that solar photovoltaics would become one of the cheapest methods of electricity generation by the mid-2030s.
Posted by Mike Peacock