Photo Credit: Idaho National Laboratory

What is The Current State of The Worldwide Solar Energy Market?

Have you ever considered why, in 2019, around 13% of the world population lacks access to electricity? With today’s global population of approximately 7,6 billion this signifies that almost one billion human beings currently live without access to electricity. Majority of these people live in Sub-Saharan Africa, and several hundred million people for instance in India still lack access to electricity. This in a world that could theoretically be completely powered through renewable sources of energy, such as solar power. Regardless of the high amount of world population that currently lacks access to electricity, significant progress has been made within the past few years alone. 

Perhaps it is not only a coincidence that population with no access to electricity live in warm, tropical climates. In colder climates, life and survival without access to energy, electricity, heat and power would make life much more challenging. However, if we go back in recent history, it has not been very long that our own ancestors and relatives lived without electricity and heating, even in cold climates. For instance my father, who was born in 1946, spent his childhood living in a home in Finnish Lapland (north of the Arctic Circle) without electricity. Less than a century ago – to be precise, soon 74 years. Since I am writing this article near father ́s day, which is always being celebrated on the 2nd Sunday in November in Finland, I would like to take the opportunity to wish my father and all other fathers a happy father’s day! 

Today, it is hard to imagine a life in Finland without electricity and heating. Perhaps the harsh life conditions have shaped our ancestors and older generations and given them the resilience that many people seem to lack today. Many people today are really spoiled. The thought about survival without electricity and heating in an Arctic country like Finland appears quite distant, or even impossible. Post World War II, Finland was a poor country, recovering and building a modern welfare society which today is one of the leading countries worldwide in terms of democracy, education, healthcare, equality, human rights, and freedom of speech – a welfare nation. Modernization of a society, including providing people access to electricity is a transformation that can take place rapidly, especially with renewable options such as solar energy that has become the cheapest source of energy in many countries. 

Of all energy sources, solar PV has the fourth lowest amount of greenhouse gas emissions according to the IPCC and IHA: 48 gCO2 equivalent per kWh. That is more than 10 times less than the equivalent from natural gas, and more than 17 times less than the equivalent from coal as a source of energy. According to the World Energy Council, government policies (and legislation) have had an impact on the world ́s most mature solar energy markets Australia, Europe, and the United States. However, costs for solar power are falling rapidly. The REN21 forecasts in its Renewables Global Futures Report that by 2050, the whole world could be 100% powered through renewable sources of energy, including solar power. Global installed capacity for solar-powered electricity has grown rapidly from basically zero GW in 2005 to more than 480 GW of installed capacity today, with a market increase of almost 50% in 2016 alone. Currently, solar PV provides the Earth with around four per cent (4%) of total electricity, with a capacity of more than 480 GW by the end of 2018 (one gigawatt equals one billion (1,000,000,000,000) watts). 

With most renewable energy being installed in developing countries, primarily in China, the whole renewable energy sector today employs at least 9.8 million people. The vast majority, 62%, of these jobs are in the biofuels and solar sectors, and mainly in Asia. In 2018, all renewable energy sources combined provided an estimated 29% of total global electricity. According to the IEA and IRENA, by 2023 renewables combined (renewables refer to hydropower, solar, wind, biomass, marine and geothermal energy, EXCLUDING nuclear energy!), are expected to supply 12.4% of overall worldwide energy demand. 

The leading countries in terms of total solar PV capacity in 2016 were China, Japan, Germany, United States, and Italy. Policy makers in almost all countries worldwide now support renewable energy development, with COP22 leaders from 48 developing countries dedicated to achieving 100% renewable energy in their nations. In terms of solar PV capacity additions in 2016, China led the world market with a 46% share, followed by the United States (20%), Japan (11.5%), India (5.5%), United Kingdom (2.7%), Germany (2.0%), Republic of Korea (1.1%), Australia (1.1%), Philippines (1.0%), Chile (1.0%), and the rest of the world combined (8%). Reasons for deployment of solar power in countries worldwide vary from lack of fossil fuel resources, energy policies targeting to diversify a country’s energy portfolio, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and efforts to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement. (REN21 2017).

Although oil and gas prices have been in decline, investments from a number of stakeholders, including corporations and financial institutions along with fossil fuel producers and oil exporting countries within the renewable and solar power sector continue to grow. Solar power is even being utilized for oil production. According to the World Energy Council and the IEA, in 2015, total investment in the energy sector worldwide was USD 1.8 trillion, USD 161 billion of which was invested in solar power alone. 

Today, consumers in many countries have the opportunity to participate in their own solar energy production by buying or renting solar panels. Personally, I have rented a solar panel at the rooftop of the Helsinki Expo and Convention Center, with my name on it. The solar energy produced with this one solar panel will be reduced from my upcoming electricity invoices. As a matter of fact, my personal household energy consumption is now covered 100% through renewable sources: hydropower, solar energy, and wind energy. It is expected that a legislative renewal within the energy market sector in Finland will see renewable energy prices fall in the near future. Until then, I am even willing to pay a bit extra for my energy consumption, as long as it has a positive impact on the environment through causing less pollution. I can save the same amount of money through smarter consumption choices.   

Learn more about the topic by watching Bloomberg ́s video “The Way We Get Power Is About to Change Forever”:

What are your thoughts about the rapid developments within the local/worldwide energy market? How about solar energy? I would be pleased to read your comments/thoughts and learn about your experiences. 

You may want to read one of my previous articles: What Makes Wind Energy The Fastest Growing Renewable Source of Electricity Worldwide?

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys. For climate/environment-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank. Subscribe to Yritys Executive Services to receive my latest posts.

 

 

 

Why World Energy Demand is Growing

Global demand for energy grows and increases due to:

1. Rapidly growing world population, estimated to reach 10 billion (10.000.000.000) by 2050, unless something drastic occurs.
2. Growing middle class and increase in wealth in countries like India and China
3. Powerless countries and regions gaining access to energy through renewables, especially solar energy.

According to OPEC, even traditional oil producing countries have for long already been investing heavily into renewable energy sources, and have acknowledged the importance of reducing traditional energy sources including fossil fuels.

The faster the transition to renewable energy sources, the faster can we move away from fossil fuels that according to vast research around our globe are the main source of greenhouse gases that lead to the greenhouse effect that is raising the average temperatures on Earth.

Anne-Maria Yritys 11.11.2018

 

Link to article:

National Geographic: How solar lanterns are giving power to the people

Why is World Energy Demand Growing?

Global demand for energy grows and increases due to:

  1. Rapidly growing world population, estimated to reach 10 billion (10.000.000.000) by 2050, unless something drastic occurs.
  2. Growing middle class and an increase in wealth in countries like India and China
  3. Powerless countries and regions gaining access to energy through renewables, especially solar energy.

According to OPEC, even traditional oil producing countries have for long already been investing heavily into renewable energy sources, and have acknowledged the importance of reducing traditional energy sources including fossil fuels.

The faster the transition to renewable energy sources, the faster we can move away from fossil fuels that according to vast research around our globe are the main source of greenhouse gases that lead to the greenhouse effect that is raising the average temperatures on Earth.

 

Link to article:

National Geographic: How solar lanterns are giving power to the people

 

 

 

Nuclear Energy

The Sun is the only safe nuclear reactor, situated as it is some 93 million miles away.

~ Stephanie Mills

#GCC @GCCThinkActTank

Energy, frequency and vibration

If you wish to understand the Universe, think of energy, frequency and vibration.

~ Nicola Tesla

#GCC @GCCThinkActTank

gccmission

UN Millennium Development Goal 8: Global Partnership for Development

What does global partnership signify to you and to your country?

In terms of improving conditions in less developed countries, the UN has set a goal and defines global partnership through following:

– Existence and development of non-discriminatory trading and financial systems with openness, clear rules and predictability

– Focusing on improving conditions in least developed countries while taking into consideration their special needs (also landlocked and small island state developing States)

– Provide access to affordable essential drugs in co-operation with pharmaceutical companies

– Availability to new technologies (information and communications) in co-op with the private sector

(UN MDG´s. Quoted 19.5.2014).

In 2011, the official amount of development aid was 0,31 % of total GDP in developed countries. The percentage is decreasing, despite of the 0,7 % target set by the UN. Debt burden ratios in developing countries, however, have decreased, and products from developing countries now more easily find their way to the Western markets. The usage of mobile phones in developing countries is rapidly increasing, e.g. beneficial in the usage as payment methods with lacking, or danger of, banking systems in certain regions. (UNA of Finland. Printed Material. 2014; Business Insider. Quoted 19.5.2014).

Exactly how useful is it for a state to have increased access to mobile payments if, at the same time, there is lack of sufficient infrastructure to provide all its citizens with nutritious food? Food for thought, certainly. At least to me it seems somewhat contradictory.

In terms of natural resources, and alternative sources of energy, Africa as a continent alone has the potential to provide all of the world´s energy – through solar power. Currently, however, the continent produces only under one per cent of total world energy. (African Union. Quoted 19.5.2014; The Alternative Energy eMagazine. “Africa, the Untapped Potential for Clean Energy”. Quoted 19.5.2014).

Us humans are deeply curious by nature, through evolution, which made us the ultimate “learning machines”. As proof  for this we only need to look back into the history of humanity, our ancestors.

“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision”.

(Ayn Rand)

As an example of human curiosity, courage and learning through mistakes, serves the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus, who in the 15th century accidentally discovered America in his urge to find a seaway to India. His voyages of discovery were a countdown to the European conquest of America, and he is said to be the father of imperialism, a term that today mostly awakens negative thoughts about the nature of humanity.

 
A couple of centuries later, in the 18th to be exact, the Scottish philosopher and economist Adam Smith, presented his ideas in the Wealth of Nations, a classical political economic theory, which still today serves as a foundation for economy. According to Adam Smith´s idea, a state has to secure people´s assets, solve disputes and make sure that rules/laws are being obeyed. In other words: the state needs to take care of things an individual is incapable of alone, or what the individual does without efficiency. In his description of market economy Smith argued that the willingness of an entrepreneur to make progress in his/her private privileges leads to economic advantages and benefits for the whole society. Furthermore, the foundation of the theory is based upon basic economic freedoms for everyone: freedom to choose a line of business, freedom to make decisions, free competition and freedom of trade. (Adam Smith Institute. Quoted 19.5.2014

Further on, international trade, including the terms absolute and comparative advantage, is said to be essential in sustaining friendly relations between different states. The term comparative advantage refers to the ability of producing a specific good or service at a lower cost over another leading to gains in trading between two countries, as long as relative efficiency remains different. In spoken language this means that a country has comparative advantage of another as long as it is able to produce a certain product/service with less total cost than another (cheapest possible production).

But how well does the theory take quality into consideration? Or labor law? There is no discussion at all about these important issues in the theory of comparative advantage. Luckily, many companies in developed countries have today developed business processes which take these important facts into consideration at all stages. Still, many companies necessarily do not.

According to ILO, the International Labor Organization, the amount of child labor worldwide is still as high as 168 million children worldwide. Imagine that! Who is employing all those children? Can we sleep tight at night without certainty about the fact that products/services we consume may actually involve the brutal usage of child labor?

Once again: everyone under the age of 18 is a child, and according to the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, every child has the right to be a child, to attend primary school, and no child should have to work.

Why not turn quality and transparency throughout all business procedures into competitive advantages in any business? With a world-changing rapidly only companies with sustainable business practices are those that will survive in the long run. Consumers´ are increasingly aware and critical when choosing goods/products/services to consume, and no one wants to take the responsibility of consuming products/services that have not taken quality or children´s/human rights into consideration.

“The price of greatness is responsibility”.

(Winston Churchill)

Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/aynrand147955.html#rvImJ05Omv2MPifq.99