Solar Energy Could Supply 45% of Electricity by 2050, Energy Department Study Shows

Biden administration has promoted an ambitious plan as part of its effort to combat climate change that envisions solar energy to cover nearly half of the US electricity nationwide by 2050, based on a study released Wednesday by the Department of Energy, The Hill reports

The Solar Futures study analyzes three possible scenarios to help the US to reach net-zero carbon emissions by replacing 45% of electricity generation with solar energy by 2050- two of them envision the US grid to get 95 % decarbonized by 2035 and fully decarbonized by 2050.

The net incremental cost of a fully decarbonized grid in 2050 would be close to $210 billion, according to the study, compared to net savings of $1.7 trillion through averted damage from climate change and air pollution.

To fulfill that scenario, solar production should increase from 3% percent of electricity production in 2021 to 40% by 2035 and 45% percent by 2050. The plan is for 30 percent of that energy to be used by buildings, 14% would go for transportation and 8% toward industrial use of energy.

The US will also have to install 30 gigawatts alternating current per year to 2025 and to double that for the remainder of the decade to reaching the 95% decarbonization target by 2035.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm noted that solar energy as cheapest source of clean energy, could produce enough electricity to power all of the homes by 2035 and employ at least 1.5 million people in the process.

She stressed that the plan requires a massive and equitable deployment of renewable energy and strong decarbonization polices that are envisioned in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act as well as President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.

The release of the study follows an August memo in which the department made a similar estimate, saying solar could account for up to 40 percent of electricity generation by 2035. The Biden administration has set a goal of fully decarbonized electricity generation by that year.

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