Chapter 10 - Solar Energy: The Largest Energy Resource

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This chapter discusses the solar energy as the largest energy resource. The fraction of electricity generated by solar technologies is small but growing rapidly, with enormous potential to generate a large fraction of the world's electricity needs while significantly reducing global carbon emissions. Realizing this potential, however, will require overcoming both technical and economic barriers. In the short term, it will be important to decrease costs, improve solar conversion efficiency, and implement electricity rate structures that capture the time-varying value of solar-generated electricity. In the long term, challenges will include using material resources more efficiently, integrating intermittent photovoltaic electricity into the grid, and building transmission capacity for utility-scale solar generation systems linking areas with good solar resources to population centers.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationGenerating Electricity in a Carbon-Constrained World
EditorsF. P. Sioshansi
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9781856176552
ISBN (Print)9781856176552
StatePublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CH-6A2-45131


  • photovoltaics
  • solar energy


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