Long-term perspective on the development of solar energy

Yacov Tsur, Amos Zemel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Scopus citations


    We use dynamic optimization methods to analyze the development of solar technologies in light of the increasing scarcity and environmental pollution associated with fossil fuel combustion. Learning from solar R and D efforts accumulates in the form of knowledge to gradually reduce the cost of solar energy, while the scarcity and pollution externalities associated with fossil fuel combustion come into effect through shadow prices that must be included in the effective cost of fossil energy. Accounting for these processes, we characterize the optimal time profiles of fossil and solar energy supply rates and the optimal investment in solar R and D. We find that the optimal rate of fossil energy supply should decrease over time and vanish continuously upon depletion of the fossil fuel reserves, while the optimal supply of solar energy should gradually increase and eventually take over the entire energy demand. The optimal solar R and D investment should initially be set at the highest feasible rate, calling for early engagement in solar R and D programs, long before large scale solar energy production becomes competitive. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)379-392
    Number of pages14
    JournalSolar Energy
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - 26 Jun 2000

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
    • General Materials Science


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