about 1 year ago • 2 mins
The International Energy Agency (IEA) published a report on Tuesday predicting a few fat years for the solar power industry.
What does this mean?
Nations were given an extra reason to take their looming climate commitments seriously when war broke out in Europe, sending energy prices sky-high and fanning the flames of global inflation. Renewable energy suddenly started looking a lot more attractive – and solar projects, which are relatively quick and convenient to develop, seemed to possess a special appeal. At any rate, the sector has piqued the interest of the US and India: the IEA thinks the next five years will see the two nations’ solar spending increase sevenfold compared to the past five, putting a dent in China’s hold over the solar supply chain. In fact, things are moving so quickly that the IEA expects solar power generation to outpace coal by 2027.
Why should I care?
The bigger picture: Green growth.
It’s not just solar: renewables in general seem to be on a stellar trajectory right now, with some generous government spending helping things along. Just look at the US, which is plowing ahead with a climate package that includes $10 billion in tax credits and $27 billion in a “green bank” to support clean energy projects. That could be why the IEA’s so cheery about clean energy’s fortunes: the body expects global renewable power capacity to become the biggest source of global electricity by 2025 and to double in the next five years.
Zooming out: Testing metal’s mettle.
There are challenges to the green transition, mind you: data out on Tuesday showed that this year's skyrocketing lithium, cobalt, and nickel prices pushed the price of EV battery packs up for the first time in over a decade. Unless costs come down soon, that could make it tricky to mass produce and sell EVs in markets where subsidies aren’t on offer – setting the transition back.
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