Pub. Date:
Taylor & Francis
How Solar Energy Became Cheap: A Model for Low-Carbon Innovation / Edition 1

How Solar Energy Became Cheap: A Model for Low-Carbon Innovation / Edition 1

by Gregory F. NemetGregory F. Nemet


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Solar energy is a substantial global industry, one that has generated trade disputes among superpowers, threatened the solvency of large energy companies, and prompted serious reconsideration of electric utility regulation rooted in the 1930s. One of the biggest payoffs from solar’s success is not the clean inexpensive electricity it can produce, but the lessons it provides for innovation in other technologies needed to address climate change.

Despite the large literature on solar, including analyses of increasingly detailed datasets, the question as to how solar became inexpensive and why it took so long still remains unanswered. Drawing on developments in the US, Japan, Germany, Australia, and China, this book provides a truly comprehensive and international explanation for how solar has become inexpensive. Understanding the reasons for solar’s success enables us to take full advantage of solar’s potential. It can also teach us how to support other low-carbon technologies with analogous properties, including small modular nuclear reactors and direct air capture. However, the urgency of addressing climate change means that a key challenge in applying the solar model is in finding ways to speed up innovation. Offering suggestions and policy recommendations for accelerated innovation is another key contribution of this book.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of energy technology and innovation, climate change and energy analysis and policy, as well as practitioners and policymakers working in the existing and emerging energy industries.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780367136598
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 06/12/2019
Pages: 260
Sales rank: 650,263
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.00(d)

About the Author

Gregory F. Nemet is Professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the La Follette School of Public Affairs, USA.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Answer
  3. Part 1: Creating a Technology

  4. Scientific Origins
  5. US Technology Push
  6. Part 2: Building a Market

  7. Japanese Niche Markets
  8. German Demand Pull
  9. Part 3: Making it Cheap

  10. Chinese Entrepreneurs
  11. Local Learning
  12. Part 4: Doing it Again

  13. Solar as a Model to Follow
  14. Applying the Model
  15. Accelerating Innovation


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