National Renewable Energy Laboratory
It is well understood and commonly cited that the solar energy resource significantly exceeds the world’s total energy consumption. However, despite dramatic advances in deployment and cost reduction, the vision of photovoltaics (PV) providing a significant fraction of global electricity generation—and ultimately, total energy demand— remains to be realized. In the near term, PV has a clear path for substantial growth. Longer term, the question remains whether PV will be able to provide a moderate (e.g., 20%, ~ 4 TW in 2030) or a large (e.g., 50%, ~ 10 TW in 2030) fraction of world electricity needs.