Carpe Diem

Solar Power: Projections Fall Short

In the December 1974 issue of Popular Science Magazine, there was an article titled “Solar Cells: When Will You Plug Into Electricity from Sunshine?” that discussed the future of solar energy. The article predicted that by 1986 the cost per watt at peak power would be down to $0.30 ($0.60 in today’s dollars) based on projections from the National Science Foundation.  There were also predictions for giant solar-cell systems that would provide solar energy to towns and utilities by 1990.

By 2007, solar prices were actually about $3.66 per watt (about six times higher than predicted), and were predicted in this 2008 article to fall to $2.14 per watt in 2010.  And we still don’t have any of those giant solar-cell systems yet.   

HT: Mike Salmon

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