Global Photovoltaic Potential Modelling
Solar photovoltaic (PV) energy is fundamental for decarbonizing the global economy and supporting the renewable energy transitions that are needed to combat climate change. Potential solar power production at a given location is a function of climatic variables that will change over time and so climate change needs to be accounted for in PV potential estimation. We develop global gridded estimates of PV potential between 2020 and 2100 as a function of spatial, climatic, technological and infrastructural conditions.
We find a global technical potential of 175 111 T W h yr-1 in 2050, which changes by between ca. -19% (high-emission scenario) and +16% (low-emission scenario), with larger geographic variations within these scenarios. Solar power can make an important contribution to energy production over the coming decades and the demand for renewable energy could be met by PV deployment on between 0.5% and 1% of the global land area, provided its deployment accounts for the location-specific impacts of climate change.