The International Energy Agency (IEA) is predicting that solar energy may produce the majority of the world’s power within 50 years. IEA staff told Bloomberg that photovoltaic (PV) and solar-thermal plants may meet most of the world’s demand for electricity by 2060 — and half of all energy needs — with wind, hydropower and biomass plants supplying much of the remaining power.

In the past the IEA thought solar would only meet 21 percent of the world’s power needs in 2050.

At a conference in Kassel, Germany on September 1st the IEA will provide more detail on how most heating and transport are expected to switch from fossil fuel generated electric power to renewable electric power as the century proceeds.

UPDATE

On September 1st IEA solar analyst Cedric Philibert made a presentation in Kessel, Germany suggesting that the cost of solar power should fall by as much as 62% between now and 2030.  This finding comes from an IEA study that explores the potential limits of solar power. The full report will be published later this year.

Adding in less-developed technologies such as heat pumps, solar power could cover half of all humanity’s energy needs. The pumps indirectly capture solar energy by using warmth from the atmosphere to heat homes.

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