Rooftop solar PV (photovoltaic) panels could supply more than 25 per cent of the world’s electricity needs by 2050, according to a team based in UCC.

Owing to improved deployment capability and reduced costs, rooftop solar PV – solar farms or roof-mounted solar panels used in home, commercial and industrial buildings – is currently the fastest deployable electricity generation technology.

Using modelling that provides much more accurate indications, the researchers conclude rooftop solar PV can supply 25-49 per cent of global electricity needs by 2050 in their study, the first detailed global assessment of energy potential from this source.

Globally, nearly 800 million people were without electricity in 2018; the majority of whom are living in rural areas. The technology’s future potential, however, will depend on development and cost of storage solutions for the generated power, notably battery technology that can retain power for use during periods of low availability of renewable energy.

The authors says their findings will have important implications for sustainable development and climate-change mitigations efforts, and for the upcoming COP26 global climate negotiations next month.

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