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A grand challenge for the twenty‐first century: Commercializing solar energy

Strategic Direction

ISSN: 0258-0543

Article publication date: 23 May 2008




Reviews the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoints practical implications from cutting‐edge research and case studies.


This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context.


Top of the list of the 14 “Grand challenges for engineering in the 21st century” that have been identified and published by the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is the need to harness the power of the sun by commercializing affordable solar energy. As the NAE observes, “we only need to capture one part in 10,000 of the sunlight that falls on the Earth to meet 100 percent of our energy needs.” At present solar's share of the total energy market remains rather small, well below 1 percent of total energy consumption. However, the committee has chosen challenges that they feel can, through creativity and commitment, be realistically met, and a range technologies that start go some of the way to meeting the solar energy generation problems – from PV cells to utility scale thermal power plants – are now not only well in hand, but are seeing major growth in terms of adoption.

Practical implications

Provides strategic insights and practical thinking that have influenced some of the world's leading organizations.


The briefing saves busy executives and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy‐to‐digest format.



(2008), "A grand challenge for the twenty‐first century: Commercializing solar energy", Strategic Direction, Vol. 24 No. 7, pp. 33-36.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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