The Potential Land-use Impacts from Solar Energy
Renewable energy usually has a lower energy density than fossil energy, and its supply can therefore require significant amounts of land. This study examines the land use impacts of a solar energy transition in the electricity sector of regions where land pressure is expected to play a role: the European Union, India, Japan and South-Korea. Using an Integrated Assessment Model that interlinks energy and the land use sectors, we were able to estimate land-use change emissions from different electricity system transition pathways. We found that the land use change emissions due to solar energy could lead to carbon emissions of up to 9 percent compared to gas-fired electricity or 20 percent compared to bio-energy.