The Future of Solar Energy. An Interdisciplinary MIT Study

This study is the seventh in the MIT Energy Initiative’s “Future of” series, which aims to shed light on a range of complex and important issues involving energy and the environment. Previous studies in this series have focused on energy supply technologies that play important roles in electric power systems and on the electricity grid itself. In contrast, solar energy, the focus of this study, accounts for only about 1% of electricity generation in the United States and globally. We believe a focus on solar technologies is nonetheless warranted because, as we discuss at several points in this study, the use of solar energy to generate electricity at very large scale is likely to be an essential component of any serious strategy to mitigate global climate change.