Solar power could trump alternatives like fossil fuels, wind, hydro and nuclear to be the world's largest source of electricity by 2050, according to a prominent energy watchdog.
The International Energy Agency (IEA), which is best known for its monthly oil updates, published two reports on Monday detailing how greater use of solar energy could radically cut the need to use polluting carbon dioxide. The Paris-based agency said that if countries embraced solar energy, carbon dioxide emissions could be cut by more than 6 billion tons per year by 2050.
By the middle of the century, solar photovoltaic systems and solar thermal electricity combined could potentially have total capacity of 4,600 gigawatts, the IEA forecast. This compares to just 154 gigawatts in the early part of 2014.
Read MoreSolar: The future of energy?
Some countries already use a diverse mix of energy and have stringent goals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to negate the effects of climate change.