Solar energy holds the best potential for meeting humanity’s future long-term energy needs while cutting greenhouse gas emissions — but to realize this potential will require increased emphasis on developing lower-cost technologies and more effective deployment policy, says a comprehensive new study, titled “The Future of Solar Energy,” released today by the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI).
“Our objective has been to assess solar energy’s current and potential competitive position and to identify changes in U.S. government policies that could more efficiently and effectively support its massive deployment over the long term, which we view as necessary,” says MITEI Director Robert Armstrong, the Chevron Professor in Chemical Engineering at MIT.
The study’s chair, Richard Schmalensee, the Howard W. Johnson Professor Emeritus of Economics and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, adds, “What the study shows is that our focus needs to shift toward new technologies and policies that have the potential to make solar a compelling economic option.”
The study group is presenting its findings to lawmakers and senior administration officials this week in Washington. Read more >
OCW has an extensive selection of MIT courses on solar power science and technology and U.S. energy policy. Start with our Energy Courses list, which features courses in MITEI’s undergraduate Energy Minor program. You can learn more about science foundations (e.g. 5.60 Thermodynamics and Kinetics), solar technologies (e.g. 2.627 Fundamentals of Photovoltaics), and energy policy (e.g. 15.031J Energy Decisions, Markets, and Policies).