Some studies suggest that in 16-30 years, solar could be the primary energy source around the globe. These studies say that the technology behind solar is exponentially better, effectively doubling power production year over year, and becoming cheaper too. There are pros and cons to relying on solar alone, and the path forward isn’t yet clear.
Solar panels are coming down in price, and generating more power than they ever have before. This is attracting the consumer market, and leading to some intriguing innovation in the energy sector. Consider solar powered roads, roof tiles and the many innovations related to personal solar devices. For large portions of the world, solar is quite possible, especially as storage options improve. Ray Kurzweil points out that every 2 years, production nearly doubles. “There’s all these arguments, subsidies and political battles and companies going bankrupt, they’re raising billions of dollars, but behind all that chaos is this very smooth progression.”
Solar isn’t going to be able to handle the baseload of power anymore than fossil fuels can, and that’s already evident in India. The baseload there leads to frequent black or brownouts, leaving individuals without power for several days at a time. If solar can create the energy needed to meet demand, it won’t be for several decades. India needs to ramp up production now.
According to Dev Randhawa, an expert in uranium, the proof is in Saudi Arabia. Although they are an oil rich nation, they have continued to build nuclear reactors for their own grids. It’s a cleaner way to reduce the dependence on CO2 emitting fuel sources, and it’s already available.