By 2025, solar power could provide all the power our homes, offices, and homesites use, saving an estimated 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, according to a new study.
The study, published in the journal Nature Energy, also found that solar panels could reduce carbon dioxide pollution by as much as 40 percent.
In other words, the sun’s rays could provide electricity for nearly all of the homes in the US in the next 10 years.
The team’s findings suggest that solar energy could also cut the amount of energy needed to power our economy by as many as 70 percent by 2025, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 10 percent, according a statement from the authors.
“These results support the view that the future of energy is going to be powered by renewables, as well as from natural building material,” said Andrew VanderMeer, an assistant professor of environmental engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and one of the authors of the study.
“This is a critical time for renewables as a source of energy, as the transition to a low-carbon economy is likely to take many years.”
The solar panel revolution will come with its own set of challenges.
For starters, the panel industry is struggling to keep up with the demand for solar panels, and the industry is not yet well-funded.
“We’re not there yet, and we’re not sure how to do it,” VanderMeers said.
That means that many projects that promise to make solar energy affordable and efficient are not yet commercially viable, he said.
Another challenge is that a growing number of states are considering banning the installation of solar panels on homes or other structures.
Solar panel installations in the United States have been declining since the mid-2000s, though, and they are projected to remain in decline until 2035, according the Environmental Protection Agency.
And even with these challenges, the study shows that the solar panels are a promising alternative to other energy sources for powering homes and businesses.
In fact, the solar panel industry expects to reach $50 billion in sales in 2035.
“If we’re going to move forward with this, we need to invest in these kinds of technologies,” Vandermeers said, adding that “we’re going toward this in a way that can help the environment.”
The researchers’ research was supported by the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office on Science.