The Solar Singularity
The “solar singularity” is the point where solar becomes so cheap in a majority of countries around the world, that it is established as the default new power source.
I’ll cover not only solar, but also battery storage, electric vehicles and self-driving cars, which together constitute the parallel and intertwined revolutions that are set to transform our energy system worldwide. With these four technologies developing steadily, we can reasonably expect to see, by 2035 to 2040, a world powered predominantly with renewable electricity – not only homes and businesses, but also transportation and industrial processes.
We are progressing at an even more rapid pace toward the solar singularity and the related energy revolutions just described than initially expected. Many key goals are being met earlier than anticipated. Some key challenges remain, however, particularly with a new Republican administration that’s generally perceived to be very pro-fossil fuel and anti-renewables. But it’s likely that even a highly fossil-fuel oriented White House won’t do much at all to slow down the solar singularity.
We’re headed to $1/watt as an all-in cost in the next five to 10 years. At $1/watt, the levelized cost falls to just 5.7 cents per kilowatt-hour, well below cost parity with new natural gas plants, coal plants or nuclear plants. With two-axis trackers (which are becoming increasingly viable) and the best solar resources, increasing the solar capacity factor to as much as 32 percent, the $1/watt all-in cost of power falls to just 4.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The future is indeed (still) bright, particularly for solar, wind and storage. We’re not over the hump yet for EVs and self-driving cars, but we should gain far more clarity on these related energy revolutions in the next year or two.
Read the full article at Green Tech Media .