Energy Overhaul: Scientists Predict by the 2040s Solar Energy Will Dominate Our Power Grids

Scientists quantify the rise of solar energy. They say we will see solar energy as our dominant power source in the next twenty years!

solar panels
A recent study shows the potential growth of solar energy in our power grid.

There has been a massive call for a switch to alternative energy by climate scientists for many years. This has been met with pushback in policy, cost, and feasibility. Recent research published in Nature uses a numerical model to find the point where solar and wind energy will be more cost effective than fossil fuels.

The cost of solar

According to, residential solar panels cost about $16,000 to install depending on the model and place. However, this is a one-time fee, and many homeowners make their money back in 9-12 years.

Some local incentives can also offset the cost of solar making it a better choice compared to fossil fuels. In some states, energy companies will pay you for the energy your panels produce. Some states also offer a tax credit for installing solar panels.

This credit would go on top of the federal tax credit for installing solar panels. In 2023, this credit is 26% off your federal income tax. These incentives will continue through at least 2035.

Rising trend in solar depends on a country’s financial stability

The paper maps the rapid growth of solar energy we are already seeing. The cost of solar is falling as technology is advancing. This, paired with the cost of fossil fuels increasing is driving folks towards solar energy.

This trend is especially prevalent in affluent countries as they have the cash to be able to invest in the upfront cost of solar. Developing countries will likely still rely on fossil fuels as that is the system in place for now.

Solar panels on a house
Houses like these will become more of the norm over the next twenty years.

Investing in solar is risky as there is no developed market to judge price and profits. This has influenced some hesitance for investors to place their money in solar for the long term. The researchers note this as a limiting factor for solar to take over.

Location, location, location!

Naturally, the productivity of solar energy is dependent on the geographical location and angle of the panels. This reduces the amount of people able to install solar panels and therefore has limited the growth of solar energy around the world.

The authors note a change in policies would be necessary to expand the reach of solar energy. This may mean a combination of wind and solar energy dispersed to customers would be used to keep everyone’s lights on.

Solar will still prevail

Despite all of these challenges, with the way the market and policy is looking now, models show solar as the dominant energy source by 2040. By mapping projected costs, scientists were able to arrive at this conclusion and could finally quantify the growth of solar energy.

This is a very important trend for the health of our planet as fossil fuels pollute our air, increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. The time for fossil fuels is running out. So is the time for the planet if fossil fuels continue.

Featured videos