Rooftop Solar Boom Set to Spread Worldwide as Costs Plunge

G’day indeed! By 2040, rooftop solar panels will supply about one-quarter of Australia’s electricity as declining costs and ample sunlight make photovoltaics the continent’s cheapest source of energy.

In Brazil, as much as 20 percent of the nation’s power will come from panels on residential rooftops, and Germany will get 15 percent from these small systems in 2040, according to New Energy Outlook 2017, a report released Thursday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That compares to about 5 percent for the U.S. and India.

Thanks to large utility-scale solar farms and commercial solar gardens, power derived from the sun is rapidly expanding as cost reductions continue to spur demand. The cost of energy from solar over the lifetime of the system, already just one-quarter of what it was in 2009, will drop an additional 66 percent by 2040. In four years, solar power will be cheaper than coal almost everywhere.

Solar and energy storage will help contribute to a global reduction in the burning of fossil fuels and emissions of carbon dioxide. Emissions of the greenhouse gas will peak in 2026, and be 4 percent lower in 2040 than in 2016, the report showed.

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