Is 100% Clean Energy by 2035 Feasible?

Is 100% Clean Energy by 2035 Feasible?

The Biden Administration has an ambitious renewable energy goal – slash the cost of solar energy by 60% over the next decade to help decarbonize the U.S. power sector by 2035.

It sounds nice, but how close are we to punting on carbon?

Well…I suppose nothing worth doing is easy – on the photovoltaic side, solar power accounts for 2-3% of total U.S. electricity generation, and the U.S. stands behind only China globally in cumulative solar PV capacity (though the difference is vast – 32.6% to 12.1%, as of 2019).

Altogether, wind and solar produced 10% of global electricity in the first half of 2020. But the path forward is anything but certain.

The recent US-China tariffs were a crushing blow to U.S. solar panel installation, which relied on cheap Chinese parts for up to 80% of its supply and many consider the “fastest growing job” in America. But it also had the intended effect of boosting domestic solar panel production, though in a tragic bit of irony, two of the companies that originally lobbied for the tariffs (Suniva and SolarWorld) went bankrupt shortly thereafter.

To achieve Biden’s goal, the Department of Energy claims we’ll have to install solar at a rate that’s 5x faster than today, and the DOE has committed $128 million for technologies (including perovskite solar cells) which could act as cheap alternatives to silicon cells.

“This first burst of funding will help us add even more affordable clean energy to the grid, jobs to communities across the country, and will put us on the fast track toward President Biden’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm (who was the subject of a recent PSDcast).

Read more here.