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Now is the time to plan for the integration of significant quantities of solar energy into the electricity grid. Although solar energy constitutes a very small portion of our energy system today, the size of the resource is enormous: The earth receives more energy from the sun in one hour than the global population uses in an entire year. In addition, the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry is growing very rapidly, sustaining an annual growth rate of more than 40% for the last decade. The combination of this rapid growth, falling costs, and a vast technical potential could make solar energy a serious contender for meeting our future energy needs.
Date of Publication: May-June 2009