New data from Green Tech Media (GTM) suggests that rapid adoption of solar power could mean that its global gigawatt capacity rivals that of nuclear power by the end of 2017, and while nuclear currently far exceeds solar in terms of energy generation, some predict solar could be the world's largest source of energy by 2050.

The world has experienced some significant growth in the use of solar power over the last decade, which includes some large-scale solar projects and residential solar power installations.

The data found in the Global Solar Demand Monitor indicates that solar power will reach a capacity of roughly 390GW this year. Meanwhile, the latest figures from the Nuclear Energy Institute suggest that the world is currently home to 391.5GW of nuclear plants.

Solar power capacity is expected to reach 871GW by 2022. This is higher than the expected capacities of either wind or nuclear by that time. Solar is expected to become the largest source of energy on a global level by 2050.

Earlier research by the International Energy Agency reached similar findings. A 2014 report by the agency stated the sun could be the world's largest electricity source by 2050. Solar is expected to outpace fossil fuels, wind, hydro and nuclear by then. Solar power's increasing cost-effectiveness and convenience are considered to be major factors.

Currently, building solar panels have become much more cost-effective in recent years, which has fostered large-scale solar initiatives in Australia and around the world.

Also, with Tesla's solar roof panels set to provide homeowners with an inexpensive, aesthetically pleasing, and convenient way to take advantage of solar on an individual basis, the technology seems more poised than ever before for energy domination.

This is all very encouraging news for the country's developing solar power industry, which in the meantime has shown continual growth in investment. The country already has some of the largest solar farms in the Southern Hemisphere.

The feasibility of nuclear power has been debated in Australia in recent years as nuclear power has the advantage of avoiding the direct generation of greenhouse gases, however, Australia has not invested in nuclear for several reasons.

These reasons include investment risks, long construction times, and safety concerns regarding waste and accidents. Community perception of nuclear power plants is also a major factor.

Current trends and benefits being what they are, GTM says that investment in solar energy looks set to continue well into the future.