Massive solar expansion by 2050 may be necessary for climate, MIT reports

For solar energy to make a big enough climate difference, the amount of solar power generation capacity on U.S. soil would have to increase from today’s 20 gigawatts to up to 400 gigawatts, or enough to provide power to 80 million homes, a study from MIT reports.
The study says that may not happen in the U.S. unless solar industry-supported funding and incentives are almost completely re-imagined. The solar industry currently supports keeping those incentives in place. Those changes would include scrapping state renewable power generation standards for utilities and directly subsidizing solar power generation in lieu of tax credits, according to the report, "The Future of Solar Energy."
As new ways of funding solar power are being worked out, new technology needs to be developed for solar energy storage, smarter power grid management and new kinds of solar panels that use more abundant raw materials that would help keep solar panel prices low, the study suggests.
Today, the solar industry is booming. The cost of a utility scale solar photovoltaic installation has fallen about 55% since 2010. Employment in the solar industry rose 22% in 2014 after the number of solar projects in the U.S. jumped 140% the year before. But the solar industry fears its expansion could slow if Congress does not renew a federal solar subsidy, the Solar Investment Tax Credit, after it expires in 2016.