Solar Continues to Get Cheaper
According to a recent article in Scientific American, in 14.5 seconds the sun shines down more power than the entire Earth uses in one day. In just 88 minutes, the sun provides more energy than the entire Earth uses in one year.
It’s mind-boggling to think about. If we had the technology to truly capture just a fraction of that energy, greenhouse gas emissions would be a thing of the past.
The good news is that we’re slowly getting there. Although harnessing the full power of this energy is still a long ways away, solar technology is improving. What’s interesting is that, according to Scientific American, scientists are thinking now that they might be able to apply Moore’s Law to solar technology.
Moore’s Law originally came from the computing field. It basically states that the number of components that can be placed on a computer chip doubles every 18 months.
This is why the cell phones and computers we use today are thousands of times smaller than the lumbering, massive computer of the 1960s, at a fraction of the cost. As we’ve seen in other fields as well, technology grows exponentially.
What’s so fascinating about this is when we look at the possibility of Moore’s Law in solar energy. Could we one day have solar panels that can harness the true power of the sun, at a fraction of the cost panels sell for now? Well, many scientists and solar experts say “yes”.
In 2007, Treehugger announced that $1 per watt panels were on their way. First Solar has announced that by 2016, they’ll be producing solar panels for 50 cents per watt.
And if you look at the diagram below, you’ll see that by 2031, the cost of solar will have dropped below what we’re currently paying per kWh of electricity.
All this goes to show that solar is, indeed, becoming more affordable for everyone. Hopefully panel effectiveness and efficiency will continue to improve so that one day, we can truly harness the full power of the sun.