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BP Technology Outlook

BP Technology Outlook examines the potential of technology to change the way we produce and use energy to 2050, seeking to isolate some of the major longer-term technology signals from other drivers, based on simple techno-economic analysis
Complementing the main body of research, a series of more detailed studies are regularly conducted into specific technologies and their potential. These are carried out in partnership with leading subject matter experts from industry and academia, around the world.

Focus on solar

Most recently, we invited several leading players to share their views and perspectives on what’s behind the continued growth of solar. Through our new Technology Outlook podcasts, we hear about the impact of new materials, how policy is adapting in different countries, and the potential pitfalls and obstacles to mainlining solar’s current progress.

  • Jenny Chase: Head of Solar, Bloombery New Energy Finance
  • Chris Case: Chief Technology Officer, Oxford PV
  • Pierre Verlinden: PV Consultant
  • Hariram Subramanian: Chief Technology Officer, Huawei Solar
  • Shawn Qu, Canadian Solar, Chairman & CEO
  • Chris Buckland: Technical Director, Lightsource BP
  • Bogdan Gagea: Technology Futures Researcher, BP

BP’s investigation into solar PV highlighted the following observations and insights; more detail is provided in the summary report.


  1. The solar PV sector is the fastest growing power generation technology and is on track to meet or exceed the IEA Sustainable Development Scenario target
  2. A strong innovation pipeline (>50 technologies) enables cost reductions across the whole solar PV supply chain. Further cost reductions of 30-50% are expected by 2025
  3. Solar PV can grow for decades before intermittency challenges would become material
  4. The levelised cost of energy (LCOE) for solar PV will be competitive against traditional energy generating technologies across most regions by early 2020s
  5. Lower costs of renewable energy start to unlock other integrated energy applications

BP Technology Outlook 2018

The second edition of the BP Technology Outlook was published in March 2018. 

BP Technology Outlook does not contain forecasts, but rather technology signals.  As both the BP Technology Outlook 2015 and 2018 demonstrate, technology development is impossible to predict with any certainty.  Listening to different perspectives to develop informed strategies is our preferred approach; read more perspectives on The BP Technology Outlook LinkedIn showcase.