The notion that solar power represents what is likely the best option for addressing the world’s energy needs well into the future should really come as no surprise. Shaun Barratt recently spoke to some colleagues in the green energy industry to discuss while there are countless reasons for solar energy’s status as the most efficient option for the world’s long-term energy demands, it is somewhat surprising that, according to a study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the solar industry likely possesses the capability for terawatt-scale energy output by the year 2050 — even in the absence of any major advancements in the available technology.
That such an output is considered likely in the relatively near future is impressive, and that sort of output should certainly draw the attention of world leaders who have thus far dragged their feet in emphasizing this technology or taking steps to lay the foundation for the large-scale implementation of solar power. Considering the fact that the terawatt-scale output is predicted without accounting for any emerging technologies, it is certainly not a stretch to believe that this output could achieved much sooner or could be potentially greater than the MIT study projects.
In fact, there are emerging innovations that may indeed play a role in the development of this sort of output, as there are a number of thin-film technologies that already utilize sustainable production materials. According to the same MIT study that predicts the terawatt-scale output, these thin-film technologies could benefit significantly from support at the federal level through the allocation of financial resources that would further any necessary research and development.
While even the most ardent climate-change deniers are starting to come around, it is still necessary for a great deal of work to be done in moving energy away from non-renewable sources to sustainable energy options, including, perhaps most notably, solar power. Federal investment into these projects is a must, as the MIT study notes that “massive expansion of solar generation worldwide by mid-century is likely a necessary component of any serious strategy to mitigate climate change.”
With the costs of harnessing solar energy coming down significantly over the years — along with solar energy’s status as a widely available resource — it is now simply a matter of continuing to promote the use of solar power as a viable source of energy. It is in the best interest of the federal government to continue to adopt policies that promote the widespread use of solar power in order to reduce dependence on non-renewable energy sources, as the MIT study has made it clear that the widespread implementation of solar energy must take place on a significant scale over the next few decades.