Patrick Schwerdtfeger, keynote speaker at Globecomm's Techforum 2016 conference, said...

Patrick Schwerdtfeger, keynote speaker at Globecomm's Techforum 2016 conference, said solar power could meet global energy needs in 25 years. Credit: Globecomm

Solar power, which now supplies less than 1 percent of energy production, could meet 100 percent of global energy demand by 2041, a business consultant said this week at a technology conference at Globecomm in Hauppauge.

Speaking Tuesday at Globecomm’s Techforum 2016 conference, held at the offices of the satellite services provider, technology analyst Patrick Schwerdtfeger compared the progress of solar power to that of computing power used to map the human genome.

In 1997, the Human Genome Project had mapped 1 percent of human genes and skeptics said that it would take decades to complete, Schwerdtfeger said. But 100 percent annual increases in computing power applied to the project allowed the genome to be mapped by 2003, he said.

By contrast, solar power accounts for 0.6 percent of energy production and is growing at a rate of about 25 percent a year, with new factories and technologies driving down prices, he said.

At that rate of growth, he said, solar power could meet global energy needs in 25 years.

Schwerdtfeger also said the spread of solar power could create problems for the power grid.

In Hawaii, a leader in solar energy production, “the grid is falling apart,” he said, as solar power producers reduce their reliance on a centralized electrical system.

Workers from SUNation Solar Systems of Oakdale have completed a...

Workers from SUNation Solar Systems of Oakdale have completed a 2,674-panel rooftop solar project on the roof of Perfume Center of America's new 180,000-square-foot Ronkonkoma headquarters. Credit: SUNation Credit: SUNation

Schwerdtfeger is the founder of business consultancy Trend Mastery Inc. and host of the Strategic Business Insights video blog.

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