Spurred by ambitious national commitments, international agreements and rapid technological progress, governments are increasingly choosing renewable energy to expand their countries’ power infrastructures. In 2014, renewables provided 23% of power generation worldwide, and with the adoption of more ambitious plans and policies, this could reach 45% by 2030.
Amid this accelerating transition, the variability of solar and wind energy — two key sources for renewable power generation — presents new challenges. It also raises questions, like ‘How do you power a country when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining?’ and ‘How does variable power fit with the delivery of reliable electricity?’
Continue reading Planning for Solar and Wind
Grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants are now mainstream and cost-competitive — making them an attractive energy option anywhere the sun shines. The most competitive utility-scale solar PV projects deliver electricity for just US 5 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) without subsidies, and costs as low as US 3 cents/kWh have been achieved when conditions are perfect.
But implementing viable utility-scale solar PV projects requires project developers to draft robust plans that attract investors, and this can be a hurdle for some. As a result, many renewable energy projects stall during the development phase.
A new addition to IRENA’s online Project Navigator platform is helping developers overcome this obstacle, and spurring more large-scale solar PV deployment in the process. Continue reading Online Platform Helps Develop Bankable Solar and Wind Power Projects
Since the end of 2009, the price of solar photovoltaics (PV) has fallen more than 80%, and the Middle East and North Africa region has been quick to seize upon the opportunities this price decline presents. An estimated 2,000 MW of solar energy projects in the region will be tendered in 2016, and by 2020, $50 billion will be invested in the region’s solar sector.
Solar investment and innovation is kicking off a regional transformation in energy production. From 19 to 21 September, Dubai International Exhibition Centre hosted Intersolar Middle East, a forum and exhibition for the solar industry and its partners to continue and accelerate this transformation. Continue reading Intersolar Middle East Gathers Region’s Brightest in Solar
It’s been a long and exciting journey but after more than 16 months, of which over 500 hours were spent in the air, Solar Impulse 2 has ended its around the world trip, landing safely in Abu Dhabi.
“This tremendous feat is another proofpoint that we have entered a period of remarkable growth for renewable energy,” said Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA, of Solar Impulse 2’s landing at UAE’s Al Bateen airport. “This remarkable achievement is not only a technological breakthrough but also a clear signal that the age of renewable power is here to stay.” Continue reading Journey’s End: Solar Impulse Lands in Abu Dhabi
We all know that solar power offers myriad health and environmental benefits over traditional energy sources — including reduced emissions and improved air quality — but the social benefits it offers are perhaps less well known. A new paper from IRENA, launched today at InterSolar Europe in Munich, highlights the way solar technology is being used to power food production and empower communities to escape poverty.
Solar Pumping for Irrigation: Improving livelihoods and sustainability, details how solar technology is being used to improve farming efficiency and agricultural output, highlighting successful examples from across Africa and Asia. Continue reading Solar power boosts food production & fights poverty
Less than 2% of today’s global electricity is generated by solar photovoltaics (PV), but this is set to change. According to an IRENA report released today at InterSolar Europe, this figure could grow to 13% by 2030. Letting in the Light: How Solar Photovoltaics Will Revolutionize the Electricity System finds the solar industry is poised for massive expansion, driven primarily by cost reductions. It estimates that solar PV capacity could reach between 1,760 and 2,500 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, up from 227 GW today. Continue reading Solar Energy Could Power 13% of the World by 2030
Today at InterSolar Europe in Munich, leaders in energy, finance and law met to scale up solar energy under a new initiative. The Solar Energy Standardisation Initiative, led by IRENA and the Terrawatt Initiative, aims to spur global solar development by standardising contracts to streamline the development and finance of solar projects.
Country commitments submitted under the Paris Agreement entail roughly $1.2 trillion in solar energy investment by 2030. To reach this target, governments must implement efficient regulatory schemes that enable massive development of solar projects – with minimal risk – and allow private investors to enter the market at scale. There is also a need to reduce transaction costs so solar power can penetrate more markets across the globe. Continue reading New Initiative to Boost Solar Energy Development