According to a recent study, rooftop solar panels alone have the potential to fulfill the energy needs of over 30 million European homes.
The research was conducted by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. The research reveals that more than half of Europe’s freestanding homes could have been self-sufficient using solar energy and batteries in 2020.
By 2050, solar will make 75 percent of European homes energy self-sufficient.
Advancements in solar technology make it economically feasible for some of Europe’s single-family homes to disconnect from the electrical grid. Globally, the number of individuals with off-grid solar power rose by 18 percent between 2019 and 2022.
Nevertheless, instead of completely going off-grid, the researchers suggest that it would be more economically sound for households to remain connected. They could then contribute excess energy to the grid during periods of surplus production.
Although going off-grid may not be the most cost-effective choice, investing in self-sufficient buildings could be worthwhile for those willing to pay extra for independence.
The study, titled “Two million European single-family homes could abandon the grid by 2050,” was published in the scientific journal Joule.
The decreasing cost of solar panels has made solar power increasingly affordable. Solar panel costs have plummeted by 90 percent in the last decade, according to The Independent. Researchers anticipate that costs will drop another 60 percent over the next 30 years.
Another recent study conducted by the University of Exeter and University College London predicts that solar energy will make up over half of global energy production by the 2050s.
There are also important geopolitical benefits to Europe transitioning to solar power.
In 2020, shortly before the start of the Russo-Ukrainian War, Russia supplied almost 25% of Europe’s overall energy needs. The large majority of this Russian energy was oil and gas.
Therefore, embracing solar power can reduce Europe’s dependence on Russia. The drop in Russian energy exports after the start of the war caused European electricity prices to rise by over 20% between late 2021 and late 2022.
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