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Solar energy is clean, inexhaustible, sustainable, and secure. Solar technologies, such as photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar power (CSP), and solar heating, are already deployed in a very broad range of applications, covering electricity generation, heating, and cooling. Further technology development and increased cost-efficiency is expected to make solar energy a mainstream energy source within the next decade.
In addition to helping facilitate the smooth transition toward a low-carbon economy, improvements in solar technologies can also enhance long-term energy security and foster economic growth at the local level. Successful deployment of these technologies can also help to accelerate the market dynamics, innovations, and synergy effects for the overall renewables sector. Costs are expected be further reduced by massive, policy-driven deployment, which allows for increasing market pull, technology progress, and economies of scale. Cooperative efforts between countries (especially between those with and without developed solar industries) can bolster the effects of advanced solar technologies by enabling the industry to take advantage of the huge untapped solar potential in the "sunbelt."
For solar power to fulfill its potential in significantly reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a range of barriers must be addressed. Countries are currently employing a range of policies and practices to overcome these barriers with varying degrees of success. These experiences are leading to enhanced approaches and goal setting to assure effective action on climate change.