Solar expected to dethrone coal, become ‘New King of Electricity,’ global forecast finds

Published onOctober 15, 2020

In 2010, the International Energy Agency called coal “the backbone of global electricity generation” in its outlook for the next decade of worldwide energy markets. On Tuesday, the Paris-based intergovernmental organization said renewables would make up 80% of new power generation by 2030, overtaking the fossil fuels that presently dominate electricity production. Installing solar photovoltaics is “consistently cheaper” than building coal or natural gas plants in most countries, and solar projects “now offer some of the lowest cost electricity ever seen,” the IEA’s researchers said in their decade-long outlook for the 2020s. The organization expects solar energy to eclipse coal as the top source of electricity in the next five years, with wind energy following close behind. Government policies to slash planet-heating emissions would only hasten the trend toward solar as China, the world’s largest climate polluter, seeks to level off its carbon dioxide output by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2060.