At present, solar power accounts for around 1% of global energy consumption, but by 2050, it will need to meet 20-30% of global power demand, which could be considerably higher than today’s demand because of electrification. At this penetration level, solar power in its present technological form will not suffice in either performance or cost. This talk will evaluate successor technologies, including perovskite solar, and discuss a technology roadmap through 2050. Moreover, it will explore the reasons why new technologies have not yet been successfully commercialized and will make recommendations for what policymakers, investors, and industry can do to accelerate the pace of innovation and market entry.
About the speaker
Varun Sivaram is the Douglas Dillon fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also a strategic advisor to the office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Reforming the Energy Vision (REV). He is a member of the advisory boards for both the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy. Before joining the Council, he was a consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he counseled Fortune 500 companies on adapting to the modern competitive landscape in energy. Prior to this role, he served as senior advisor for energy and water policy to the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, and oversaw the city’s Department of Water and Power.
His work has appeared in the Journal of Applied Physics, the Journal of Physical Chemistry, Nature, Nature Climate Change, Scientific American, and the World Economic Forum. A Truman and a Rhodes scholar, Dr. Sivaram holds degrees from Stanford University in engineering physics and international relations, with honors in international security. He holds a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics from St. John’s College, Oxford University, where he developed third-generation solar photovoltaic coatings for building-integrated applications. He lives in Washington, DC.