Thanks to fast learning and sustained growth, solar photovoltaics (PV) is today a highly cost-competitive technology, ready to contribute substantially to CO2 emissions mitigation. However, many scenarios assessing global decarbonization pathways, either based on integrated assessment models or partial-equilibrium models, fail to identify the key role that this technology could play, including far lower future PV capacity than that projected by the PV community.
Capacity planners in developing countries frequently use screening curves and other system-independent metrics such as levelized cost of energy to guide investment decisions. This can lead to spurious conclusions about intermittent power sources such as solar and wind whose value may depend strongly on the characteristics of the system in which they are installed, including the overall generation mix and consumption patterns.