photo by Lkruijsw (source: Wikimedia Commons)

The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that solar power will supply 20-25% of energy needs by the year 2050. Half of this will be from photovoltaic solar panels, initially driven by feed-in tariff schemes like the UK government’s controversial FIT plan. The other half will come in the form of Concentrated Solar Power, or CSP, which uses lenses or mirrors to focus large areas of sunlight, ‘concentrating’ it to produce electrical power.

Solar Trade Association CEO David Mathews sees different roles for both types of solar power generation: photovoltaic for northern Europe and CSP in sunnier, southern lands.

From an article in The Ecologist:

In the longer term, Matthews said he expects CSP to have the bigger role in meeting the world’s power needs because of its lower costs per kilowatt, and its ability to store energy overnight as well as transfer it over long distances.

The IEA states in a press release that the major producers of CSP will be North America, India and North Africa:

North Africa would most likely export about half its production to Europe, the second largest consumer.

Algeria already has major plans for CSP projects, as do South Africa, Israel and part of India.

by Graham Land

Additional resources:

Guardian – US could become leader in desert solar, says IEA