The State of Clean Energy: A 2023 Recap and What’s Ahead for 2024

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The clean energy future is arriving faster than you may think. 2023 marked a year of significant advances in renewable sources with more than $1.7 trillion worldwide expected to be invested in technologies such as wind, solar power, electric vehicles and batteries, the most ever spent on clean energy in a year. Renewables are now expected to overtake coal by 2025 as the world’s largest source of electricity.

As 2024 begins, the stage is set for even more transformative changes. Let's take a closer look at the state of clean energy, highlighting the trends of 2023 and what's on the horizon for the year ahead.

The Surge of Renewable Energy in 2023

Policy and Investment

Global initiatives and policies continued to support the clean energy transition. At December’s COP28 climate summit in Dubai, nearly 200 countries approved a milestone plan to ramp up renewable energy and transition away from fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. The approved plan also called on nations to triple the amount of renewable energy, like wind and solar power. In addition, investments in clean energy projects soared, demonstrating a growing recognition of its economic viability and environmental necessity.

Solar Power Dominance
One noteworthy trend of 2023 was the significant growth and dominance of solar power. Advances in solar technology, combined with decreasing costs of solar panels, made it a formidable player in the renewable energy sector. Research firms like BloombergNEF forecasted global solar installations to increase by as much as 56%.

Storage Solutions
The focus on energy storage solutions gained prominence in 2023. As intermittent renewable sources like solar and wind became more prevalent, the need for efficient storage technologies intensified. Innovations in battery storage, including advancements in lithium-ion batteries and emerging technologies like flow batteries, provided solutions to store surplus energy for use during low generation periods.

Predicting What Lies Ahead in 2024

Solar Will Continue Its Reign

At Altus Power, we predict the demand for renewable energy sources will continue to increase, including for locally sited solar.  With solar energy experiencing record-setting growth, we believe momentum is set to continue into 2024, particularly with IRA subsidies and tax breaks established to encourage growth for at least the next decade. In addition, advancements in solar photovoltaics are expected, including more efficient and affordable solar panels.

Watch Out For The Energy Storage Revolution
The year ahead is poised for significant strides in energy storage solutions. Battery storage is an important tool for local utilities to ensure grid stability as they increase their reliance on renewable energy, like solar. Altus Power expects storage to increasingly be paired with its solar arrays for customers who want on-site backup power and EV charging. From improved battery performance to scalable grid-level storage systems, innovations will focus on making energy storage more efficient, cost-effective, and capable of handling larger capacities.

Global Commitments and Collaborations Will Strengthen
It is also expected that international partnerships and agreements will continue to play a pivotal role in accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources. Over the coming year we may see an increase in subsidies, tax incentives and regulatory frameworks in other countries that are more favorable to renewable energy projects. As countries unite to combat climate change and achieve sustainable development goals, we certainly expect to see continued investment into clean energy technology and solutions.

The landscape continues to evolve and the momentum gained in 2023 indicates a collective U.S. and global commitment to harnessing the potential of clean energy. The continued adoption of renewable energy, particularly solar power, alongside advancements in storage technologies and international policies and partnerships, offers a promising path toward a more sustainable future in 2024.

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