But the sun doesn't always shine everyday.
Solar power is on track to become the dominant energy source in the world by 2050 — surpassing even fossil fuels — according to a new study published in the journal Nature Communications.
Researchers in the United Kingdom wrote that past policy on solar and its decreasing cost may have now pushed solar to a "tipping point" that positions it to "dominate global electricity markets" in the future — a trend line they say is likely to continue even without additional pro-solar policies.
The researchers used a model to forecast energy sources into 2060, looking at 22 types of energy ranging from nuclear to natural gas drawn from data around the world.
The finding? That solar energy was the likely dominant source, making up more than 50 percent of energy generated, in 72 percent of the simulated scenarios.
"We currently have a fossil fuel-dominated system and without additional policies, we arrive at a state that's dominated mostly by solar," University of Exeter lecturer and study lead author Femke Nijsse told Bloomberg.
However, it's not all clear skies for the world, which is already experiencing worsening impacts from global warming.
The researchers brought up several uncertainties that may impact wider solar energy adoption. One of them is the impact of a solar-heavy regime on grid stability. Solar is intermittent, since not every day will be sunny and bright. The researchers said this issue may be alleviated by adding in other renewable energy sources, installing better battery storage, and overall upgrading the world's shoddy electric infrastructure.
Other factors they say could impede increased solar adoption are the availability of financing for these projects in developing countries, political fallout from jobs lost in fossil fuels and related sectors, and supply chain issues for raw materials. Solar panels are made up of polymer, glass, and different metals, some of which need to be mined under poor labor conditions in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
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