2016 might have been called the year of solar power. Not just did solar panels become less expensive and Elon Musk, founder of Tesla motors announced the purchase of one of the country’s largest solar providers, SolarCity, but we saw many things become solar powered that we never knew were possible. Things like a train, a roadway, an island, and an entire city.
According to Thierry Lepercq, French energy company Engie SA’s head of research, technology, and innovation, that only the beginning. As he told Bloomberg, “The promise of quasi-infinite and free energy is here.”
And the reason, Lepercq says, is that the price of solar power will probably fall below $10 per megawatt-hour (roughly 1¢/kWh) in the world’s sunniest places. At the same time, conventional coal-based sources could even be more expensive in the future.
In a recent report, the World Economic Forum (WEF) seconded Lepercq, showing how solar power is now less expensive than fossil fuels. And, if solar power keeps trending at the rate it has been, declining at a compounded 20% annual rate, it will soon reach grid parity, making it a worldwide option.
And as solar power has expanded, so has its innovation. We now have large scale solar energy infrastructure in many countries, a solar desalination plant, supercomputers that run on solar power, and a farm that uses solar energy and seawater to grow crops.
Yes the solar power revolution has arrived.
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