What made solar panels so cheap? Thank government policy.

By David Roberts, Vox.com

From an economic perspective, the core challenge of climate change is that the standard way of doing things — the dirty, carbon-intensive way — is typically cheaper than newer, lower-carbon alternatives.

Solving the problem means driving down the cost of those alternatives. Simple, right?

But in practice, it’s not so simple. In fact, we still don’t have a very good grasp on exactly what drives technological innovation and improvement. Is it basic scientific research? Early-stage R&D? Learning by doing? Economies of scale?

The details are worth examining, but the big lesson is pretty simple: It didn’t just happen. It was driven, at every stage, by smart public policy.

Read more: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/11/20/18104206/solar-panels-cost-cheap-mit-clean-energy-policy

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