Solar power for CO2 mitigation - Grantham Briefing Paper 11

Topics: Mitigation
Type: Briefing paper
Publication date: January 2014



Solar pannel array Authors: Professor Jenny NelsonAjay GambhirDr Ned Ekins-Daukes

Solar power represents a vast resource which could, in principle, meet the world’s needs for low-carbon power generation many times over. The technology to generate solar power by conversion of light to electricity (PV) and conversion of light to power via heat (solar thermal) is already proven and widely deployed. The cost reductions in solar PV over the last ten years now make it competitive with conventional, fossil fuel based grid power in some locations, and it will soon be competitive in others, including the UK. Solar power is particularly relevant to the developing world where solar resource is high and solar power with storage is likely soon to become a more cost effective option than diesel generators.

This Briefing Paper explores the potential for existing and emerging solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies to deliver rapid transformation of our energy systems to limit the scale of future climate risks from fossil fuel use. In particular, we examine the potential for cost reductions and scalability of manufacture and the new science needed in order to accelerate the uptake of solar power technologies.


  1. Executive summary
  2. Introduction
  3. Solar energy technology and current status
  4. Achieving carbon emissions mitigation using solar energy
  5. Acknowledgements

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