The Khaleej Times Online is running an essay tomorrow by Achim Steiner, United Nations Under-Secretary General and UN Environmental Programme Director. Steiner says:
A nuclear power plant can take 10-15 years to build, and a coal-fired power station around five years. Mid-size solar plants of 5-10 negawatts, however, are now taking only about three months to get from the planning stage to construction. With the advent of smart grids and free-market pricing, solar PV seems well positioned to provide solutions that are quick to build and scalable.
Steiner also talks about how solar has exceeded all market forecasts:
In 2002, one private equity fund estimated that annual installations of solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays might reach 1.5 gigawatts (GW) by 2010. In fact, 17.5 GW was installed in 2010, up 130 per cent from 2009. And PV installations are forecast to rise further this year, by perhaps 20.5GW, taking global capacity to around 50 GW – the equivalent of around 15 nuclear reactors.
Solar is also taking root in the developing world:
All of this is not happening only in developed economies like Germany, Spain, and the United States, but in countries like Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and Morocco. Indeed, according to an estimate by IMS Market Research, more than 30 countries will be part of this emerging solar revolution by 2015.