Solar panel sourced power could supply 5% of global electricity demand by 2020, up to 9% by 2030 and up to 20% by 2050, according to a study from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and Greenpeace International.
The groups say solar power may also reach the holy grail of grid parity much faster than expected.
The report, “Solar Generation 2010”, predicts investments solar photovoltaic (PV) to increase from €35 billion in 2010 to €70 billion in 2015. Rapidly decreasing prices for solar panels and associated equipment could see home solar power systems able to generate electricity at a cost competitive with fossil fuel based sources by this time.
The report says this looming "grid parity" is an economic breakthrough for solar power and by 2030, up to 2.5 billion people could benefit from solar energy.
Current solar PV capacity could grow from 23 GW at the beginning of this year to 180 GW by 2015 and over 1,800 GW could be installed by 2030, saving as much as 1.4 billion tonnes in CO2 emissions annually.