The rapidly expanding solar energy industry could meaningfully contribute to curbing climate change only if governments and the private sector approach it more economically and efficiently, according to a new Stanford study.
Researchers from Stanford’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance encourage the United States to reconsider a wide variety of its solar energy policies in order to maximize the industry’s long-term benefits to the global climate and to the U.S. economy. Their research is scheduled to be unveiled Tuesday during an event at the Brookings Institution.
A key recommendation is that China, which is the major driver of the global solar industry, and the United States work more closely together with each country capitalizing on its particular strengths. “The Chinese are not only leading the world in terms of the manufacturing of solar equipment, but they are also the largest deployer of solar energy,” said Dan Reicher, a co-author of the report, The New Solar System, and executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center, which is a joint research center involving Stanford Law School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. “And they are getting increasingly competitive in the research and development area, which the U.S. has historically been dominating. With a new federal administration and a new Congress, this is the time to be thinking about what we want the U.S. role in solar industry to look like five, 10 years from now.”