Tuesday, 8 May 2012
The exponential decline of the price of solar energy
The chart above shows the price of solar energy halved about every teen year. In China the last years this decline has been way faster. Recent technology breakthroughs will make more faster progress possible. That halving in ten years seems to be a prudent estimation of the trend.
That is wonderful, very good news because it will make solar energy in some time dirt cheap. The fans of singularity like Kurzweil will be true believers in solar energy. It is almost unlimited available, in principle enough to provide in the total electricity production of the world. That is not happening yet, because solar energy is still too expensive for the time being.
A square kilometre Sahara receives as much solar energy each year as 1.5 million barrels of oil or 300,000 ton coal. The Sahara alone could produce 40 times the total electricity production of the world when you should make the Sahara one big solar panel.
Diamandis and Kotler give as an example of cost reduction the achievements of 1366 Technologies, that will get down the costs of silicon wafers, the most expensive part of solar panels, down with a factor ten. The forecast that solar energy will be cost efficient within five years in California for a household.