A Post-Pandemic World and A Solar Energy Revolution
Hardly any global event in the past 100 years has changed world views and priorities like the Covid-19 pandemic. Like many other sectors, the energy sector will likely never be the same. Many experts and institutions are voicing the fact that solar will emerge as the leading energy source after the pandemic has subsided.
One of the reasons for this is the fact that people have woken up to the vulnerability to unfortunate events of a global scale. The threat of climate change now feels more real than ever before. Additionally, the steep drop in solar prices will accelerate the shift even more.
A study was conducted at Stanford by the Global Carbon Project, under scientist Rob Jackson. It showed that daily emissions worldwide have dropped by about 17% after Covid-19 struck. When asked about this, Jackson said that people marvel at how easily the air cleared when we stopped driving cars. “The environment is resilient, and people are too. Good things may come from Covid-19″.
Not far from Jackson, Dan Shreve, an energy research director at Wood Mackenzie was quoted saying, “My impression is that we are going to have a future that will be more decarbonized than we could have imagined three months ago. And in the end, this health and economic crisis will push us to a cleaner path forward.”
Though the solar sector, like any other, took a hit due to the pandemic, it showed signs of sparked interests too. In some places, enquiries of solar products went up, along with bicycles and other green products.
According to many other experts like Jackson or Shreve, the coming years will indeed need, and boost, a solar energy revolution. The cause for this is not just regular people seeking more resilient homes in possible recurring tough times, but also businessmen looking for more reliable investments.
As Shreve says, “Folks looking for a safe haven in a turbulent market may continue to turn to this sector”. After all, once a system is installed or a PPA is signed, the panels are guaranteed to generate power and revenue for three decades, unless the sun disappears! What’s more? An investment in solar creates 2.8 times more jobs than an equivalent investment in fossil fuels.
If that is not enough, solar has also become dramatically cheap in recent years. An exponential fall in prices has made it the most common-sense power source. Solar plants regularly have bids in the range of 4 cents/kWh. Solar is not just cheaper than coal power, it is cheaper than coal itself!