Why Solar Power Will Rule the World

(It’s the Economics, Period. Or, A Story in Two Pictures)

By Kyle G. Crider

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I’ve been showing some variant of this slide for years. In my most recent presentations, I’ve made it my first content slide, and told the audience: “If you only remember one thing from this talk, remember this image: This is why solar will rule the world.”

Michael Graham Richard agrees; indeed, the title of his April, 2015 article from which the following graphic is taken is: “This striking chart shows why solar power will take over the world.”

Also, while it is almost year old as of this writing, Zachary Shahan’s Clean Technica article, “13 Charts On Solar Panel Cost & Growth Trends,” is an excellent source of solar charts and infographics.

All of these charts paint one clear picture:

  • The “hard,” or technology, costs of solar have dropped more than one-hundred-fold since we first used it to power our fledgling spacecraft.
  • The remaining barriers to solar are mostly “soft,” or legal policy and procedure costs (such as Alabama Power’s $5 per kilowatt of rated capacity monthly tariff on solar and other distributed energy, which can add $20 or more every month to a typical solar home installation).
  • Good economics (usually) wins, in the long run, despite bad politics & policies.

In conclusion, with a nod to James Carville, “It’s the Economics, period.” And, like Edison, my money’s on solar.

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