Most of us know that not only is renewable energy 100% necessary if we want to avoid the escalating and irreversible effects of climate change, but it is also very much within our reach. In encouraging news, a new report from the WWF says that the solar arrays needed to meet all the worldâ€™s projected energy needs by 2050 would take up less than 1% of the global land area. Thatâ€™s right – the world could, theoretically, be powered by 100% solar energy and we would need less than 1% of our land mass to do it.
Obviously the world isnâ€™t about to put all its eggs in one basket like that, but it is still cool to think about, and it’s a very interesting perspective. One likely scenario is using solar energy for about 30% of global electricity by 2050, which is quite a leap from the 0.1% it is currently providing.
According to the Solar PV Atlas, photovoltaic technology will not affect conservation goals when it is strategically planned, and countries would not have to choose between PV technology and nature. If anything, it is crucial that we begin to think about how to effectively incorporate renewable energy, including solar power, into the spaces we use for living.
The Atlas has gone through several countries including Mexico, Madagascar, Indonesia, Morocco, South Africa, Turkey, and Madhya Pradesh, each of which has significantly different economies, natural environments, demographics, and political structures. Their average levels of sunshine all differ, and there is still a significant amount of potential shown for widespread solar development. Their prediction is that renewables will replace all other forms of electricity by 2050.
Image CC licensed by Constellation Energy: Rooftop solar panels.