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Earth Policy Institute: Podcast

Jun 11, 2011

One key component of the Plan B climate stabilization strategy is solar energy. Solar is even more ubiquitous than wind energy and can be harnessed with both solar photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal collectors.

Solar PV—both silicon-based and thin film—converts sunlight directly into electricity. The growth in solar cell production climbed from an annual expansion of 38 percent in 2006 to an off-the-chart 89 percent in 2008, before settling back to 51 percent in 2009. At the end of 2009, there were 23,000 megawatts of PV installations worldwide, which when operating at peak power could match the output of 23 nuclear power plants. Germany, with an installed PV power generating capacity of almost 10,000 megawatts, is far and away the world leader in installations. For full report, visit the EPI website.