Solar Power Will Completely Phase Out Coal By 2050

Solar power is on the up-and-up. W Joke khumkhur/Shutterstock

Robin Andrews 02 Feb 2017, 21:23

Thanks to the rapidly falling price tags on electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels, the global growth in the use of oil and coal may peak as soon as 2020.

According to the new report by the Carbon Tracker Initiative and Imperial College London, the combination of clean energy policies by the world’s nations and the lack of adaptability of the fossil fuel industry, means that these two highly polluting fossil fuels could see the end of the road sooner than many have predicted.

“Electric vehicles and solar power are game-changers that the fossil fuel industry consistently underestimates,” Luke Sussams, senior researcher at Carbon Tracker, said in a statement. “Further innovation could make our scenarios look conservative in five years’ time, in which case the demand misread by companies will have been amplified even more.”

By 2030, the researchers estimate that one-in-five cars on the road will have electric engines, and that the spread of solar power will stop the ascent of the already stumbling coal and oil industries in just a few years’ time.

Their data predicts that solar power will make up 23 percent of global power generation by 2040 and 29 percent by 2050. This will completely phase out coal, and will leave natural gas with just 1 percent of the market share.


The report notes that ExxonMobil currently predicts that all types of renewables will make up just 11 percent of the market share by 2040.

By 2050, coal will fall to half 2012 levels. Oil demand will remain flat from 2020 to 2030, whereupon it will quickly decline.

More than anything, this new report underscores that no matter how much certain governments or companies want to push them, fossil fuels are slowly dying out.

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