Solar-optimist Tony Seba projects solar dominance by 2030.
Here's a summary of his "Solar Trillions" book and other optimistic sources:
$7 Trillion will be spent on renewable energy by the year 2030. (Source)
The annual value of renewable energy capacity installed will double in real terms to US$395 billion in 2020, rising to US$460bn in 2030, compared with US$195bn in 2010, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.(Source)
China will take over the lead in renewable energy asset finance from Europe in 2014, with an annual spend of just under US$50bn. The US and Canada are also expected to see no lasting slowdown in project construction, together hitting US$50bn of investment in 2020.
Off-shore wind will lead the way, then Solar PV. (Source) "Big winners over the next 20 years will be the emerging renewable energy hubs in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa – by 2020 the markets outside of the EU, US, Canada and China will account for 50% of global annual investment in renewable energy capacity.” (Source)
In light of this fairly rosy projection, it makes sense to study "free market solar" writers:
Short but sweet.
This is from Tony Seba's perhaps overoptimistic (if not sometimes unsupported) "Solar Trillions" Facebook Page (highlighting investment "Opportunities" from his book):
Opportunity 1: Utility-Scale Solar: $9.0 trillion
- To provide all of America’s electricity today, solar power would need a single 100-by-100-mile square of desert. This is less than 10% of the land that the oil & gas industry uses in America today.
- Most of the solar energy will come not from photovoltaics but from Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), which collects the sun’s heat with precisely focused mirrors and uses it to run turbines.
- A European consortium is raising half a trillion dollars to develop CSP plants in the Sahara that will
power both Europe and Africa. much of the continent.
Opportunity 2: Industrial-Scale Solar: $7.1 trillion
- Data centers are the aluminum smelters of the information age. Data-center energy consumption is expected to reach $250 billion per year by 2020.
- Spain’s Gemasolar is a CSP plant with 15 hours of energy storage. 24/7 solar power is here—and can reliably run those data centers as well as many factories.
- The cost of solar will drop to 3-5 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2020—cheaper than subsidized coal.
Opportunity 3. Island/Village-Scale Solar: $2.6 trillion
- Hawaii pays up to four times the electricity rates on the US mainland—and more than twice the goingrate for photovoltaic (PV). Sunny islands around the world regularly go dark because they can't pay their diesel-fuel bills.
- Half a billion people in 500,000 villages in India alone are not connected to the grid. Two billion people around the world get their energy from kerosene or diesel at rates up to 10 times today’s PV cost. But solar PV doesn’t need a grid.
Opportunity 4: Home/Commercial Scale Solar: $8.7 trillion
- There are more than five million commercial buildings in America. These buildings receive solar energy greater than the energy they consume.
- With building-integrated PV, solar will be part of the fabric of office towers, stores, and homes:
photovoltaic walls, windows, roofs, and bricks. Soon, buildings won’t just sit there; they will make money for their owners, selling that energy back to the grid.
Opportunity 5: Solar Clean Water: $1.5 trillion
- We will hit peak water before we hit peak oil. The aquifer that supplies water for a third of America’s food supply may dry up within two decades.
- Solar energy on 1 square kilometer (less than half a square mile) of desert land is sufficient to desalinate 165,000 cubic meters of water a day—with zero carbon pollution.
- Many parts of the world are already facing a severe water crisis. But most of those regions are the ones with the most sunshine falling on them.
Opportunity 6: Energy Storage: $5.0 trillion
- Up to 30% of power produced by coal and nuclear plants (and wind plants too) is wasted because they can’t store the energy they produce during off hours.
- Solar thermal (CSP) is the only generating technology that can store energy in cheap, environmentally safe batteries.
- You can “fill up” a battery electric car for about $5 today. BEVs are 4 times more energy efficient than gasoline cars—and the world is waiting for the price of those batteries to come down.
Opportunity 7: The Smart Grid: $6.5 trillion
- The average transformer in America is 42 years our grid is falling apart. We have to replace the worn-out, obsolete grid with a computerized, decentralized twenty-first century infrastructure.
- The eBay of electricity is coming. Homeowners will not only be able to sell energy back to the utilities from their own solar installations—they will sell it to each other.
- The smart-grid network layer (the “Energy Internet”) may be 10 times larger than the existing Internet.
Here's a book that is very useful reading and basically illustrates how FITS can work positive results.