Predictions in Solar: Experts are only right half of the time

Jennifer Runyon, the Chief Editor of Renewable Energy World, wrote an article entitled, “When we talk about the future of renewable, we’re only right half the time,” and after digging deeper it turns out that she’s right. So, what does that mean for the prediction’s being made today?


To be fair, predictions are difficult no matter what industry you’re looking at. In the world of renewable energy, and the solar markets there are a lot of variables that not only have to do with the markets ability to meet at supply and demand and find an economic equilibrium, but with government policy. With governments around the world changing every few years or so, it becomes even harder, because policies change depending on the party in power.  

So, let’s take a look at the predictions made by the experts and let’s compare it to the reality of what actually happened. Let’s look at the solar predictions that were close, but ended up being wrong, and let’s dissect the predictions of tomorrow.  

Predictions that ended up being wrong:  

Here are two of the predictions that Jennifer went through in her piece.  

“The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has increased its latest targets for installed wind capacity from 180 gigawatts (GW) to 230 GW by 2020.” Claim made in 2009. 

Even though this prediction is wrong, it’s actually going to be pretty close, and actually closer than expected. The EU actually is expected to bring 195-GW by 2020 due to a recent statistic and this actually follows with their current course and plans (unless something goes wrong).  

“The proportion of thin-film technologies in newly installed systems is expected to increase to at least 20–30 percent by 2020.” Claim made in 2009.  

The prediction ended up being incorrect because in 2009 no one in the solar industry saw the growth that ended up being solar PV. Thin-film didn’t rely on silicon to be made, and around that time there was a shortage of silicon that scared the industry into not believing in anything made with silicon. The shortage ended up being resolved, and today thin-film still only holds a small portion of the market at 5 percent.  

In 2011 Bloomberg made a prediction that Solar would be as cheap as coal in two years:  

This prediction wasn’t made by any climate experts, but it’s great to see prediction made from business minds looking into the solar industry. In 2011 Bloomberg’s prediction made a lot of sense, especially because this was around the time where the Obama administration subsidized a lot of different solar/energy companies like Solyndra, and Tesla. When something is subsidized, there is an expectation that the price will fall along with the subsidy, in this situation that didn’t happen. If Bloomberg would have made a claim that Solar was going to be cheaper 10-15 years from 2011; then the claim would probably be accurate.

The Predictions of Today Made for Tomorrow 

By 2050 we could use over 100% renewable energy-Claim made by Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology 

The author of the study points towards current technologies, and the growth of people using these technologies as proof that renewable energies are on their way to being the only sustainable energy that can last! The author also points to the constant power supply that can generate sufficient secure power to meet the world’s demands!

Solar Energy is going to drop the price in half by 2025-2030. And will be the cheapest form of energy Claim Made by Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology:  

This claim is possible, because of how fast the price of solar continues to fall. The reason for their claim comes from the researcher’s belief that North East Asia and China will benefit the most from switching to Solar, and the Nations in Asia are already making the effort, and as the effort continues the price will continue to fall around the world.

What are your Solar and Wind Energy predictions?  



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