Is a solar future without fossil fuel possible? Asian Property Review finds out.
Text by Benjamin K. Yong
WHAT’S UP WITH THE SUN?
“It is almost a foregone conclusion that the future of energy will be in electricity, especially generated by renewable energy.” – Catherine Ridu, CEO of SEDA.
Renewable energy (RE) is the future – countries which are aware of the disastrous consequences of climate change are rushing to reduce coal and other fossil production and increase the production of renewable energy. Of all the different types of RE, solar and wind present the greatest promise as they are easy to install and are getting cheaper by the day. As of 2016, countries like China and India have increased their solar power production (in Megawatts) by about 80% from the previous year. (See Figure 1). Other countries in Asia like Taiwan and Thailand have also upped their capacity by about 50% while Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Pakistan have a quarter more photovoltaic production from the previous year. A latecomer to the renewable energy scene, the Philippines nevertheless played catch-up by increasing its solar power production by a whopping 525% compared to 2015.
Ideally, the world will reach the end of the carbon era sooner than later. This is when all energy production comes from renewable sources. At the rate RE is being produced, this looks like a very real possibility although it might take years, or even decades.
At this stage, it might seem hard to believe but the country once derided as full of pollution is now at the centre of the RE revolution. Just look at the figures below:
“China installed more solar capacity than any other country has in total in 2017. It increased it by 69%. With a total 54GW to be installed in 2017, by 2040, renewables and coal will each account for 40% of China’s generating capacity. China has already smashed its own record by installing 34.5GW in 2016. Creating 43GW solar output in the first 9 months of 2017 – that’s more than the combined capacities of Germany, the US and Japan.” – Bloomberg
“China created a giant panda solar farm in Northern China and built the world’s largest floating solar installation in Southern China.It has exceeded its government’s own target for solar capacity for 2020. It sets itself a new target of 213GW of solar power by 2020 which is five times larger than the current capacity of the US. China now produces two-thirds of the world’s solar panels and is installing one wind turbine every hour.” – Solar Energies Industry Association.