Solar Energy : This Is What A Disruptive Technology Looks Like | | Zero Footprint |

A picture is worth a thousand words. 


This graph compares the price history of solar energy to conventional energy sources. The comparison is striking. This is what a disruptive technology looks like. While conventional energy prices remained pretty flat in inflation adjusted terms, the cost of solar is dropping,fast, and is likely to continue doing so as technology and manufacturing processes improve. The graph above charts the inflation adjusted price of different types of energy, not in terms of gallons, but in terms of gigajoules of energy (a gigajoule is one billion Joules, the standard metric unit for energy). Pricing energy commodities in terms of their energy content makes it easier to compare the relative cost of different sources of energy. While solar currently accounts for less than 1% of the energy supply, it is an exponentially improving technology, both in terms of price and pace of construction. Already it is approaching parity with other energy sources in the Western US. Assuming this trend continues for another 10 to 20 years, and there’s no reason not to, solar power will become 5 to 10 times more cost effective than it is today. This raises an interesting question. What happens if solar becomes an order of magnitude cheaper than other sources of power? This is the nature of disruptive technology. It represents such an improvement that it renders existing industries obsolete. We saw waves of disruption take place as the Internet upended entire industries. Expect to see a lot of this in the coming years.
Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc