HomeNewsSolar energy is being harnessed everywhere (except France)

    Solar energy is being harnessed everywhere (except France)

    Workers have been installing a solar panel on average every two minutes at the massive Al Dhafra solar power plant, south of Abu Dhabi. Launched in 2020 by a consortium of the French EDF Renewables, the Chinese Jinko Power and Emirati public operators, the construction site is nearing completion. With 4 million solar panels and an installed capacity of 2 gigawatts (GW), it is one of the largest in the world. The electricity that it will generate for the next 30 years – enough to power 160,000 homes – has already been bought up.

    Solar panels can be seen everywhere: in the middle of desert areas, on private roofs, in parking lots, above warehouses and factories, on lakes, at the edge of highways and on agricultural land as well as in cleared forests. They are now being installed at an unprecedented rate across the globe due to the breathtaking speed at which photovoltaic technology is expanding its reach. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), solar power is expected to account for 2,350 GW worth of potential power worldwide within four years, surpassing hydroelectricity in 2024, natural gas in 2026 and coal in 2027 in terms of electricity production.

    In 2021, the sun – which by its nature can only provide energy during the day – accounted for 1,000 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity worldwide out of 27,000 TWh consumed (from nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, etc.). Solar power’s share for 2022 is on track to exceed 25%, spurred by the fight against climate change and the rise in energy prices, in a trend that is only expected to continue rising. In its annual Renewable Energy Report, the IAE concludes that despite currently higher capital costs due to raw material prices, large-scale solar photovoltaics is the cheapest option for new electricity generation in a large majority of countries around the world. “The cost of solar has dropped,” said Bruno Bensasson, CEO of EDF Renewables. “What had appeared to be an expensive product just for rich countries has become competitive for all the world’s economies.”

    Read more Article reserved for our subscribers Wind and solar generated more electricity than gas or coal in the EU in 2022

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    Accelerating the transition

    Most major industrialized countries have broken their own records in 2022 or will break them in 2023: in new power plants installed, in energy produced or in projects scheduled for the next few years. “The energy crisis we are experiencing has accelerated the transition to renewables that we were having difficulty making for reasons of climate alone,” said Richard Loyen, one of France’s leading experts and the president of Enerplan, an organization of professionals in the field.

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