One of the arguments for a more abundant future is the decreasing cost of energy. There are limits to how low the price of gasoline can go (there is, after all some cost to drilling, extracting and refining, not to mention transportation) but some renewables can drive energy costs much lower.

Why does this matter? Because for every 1% increase in electricity access, there has been (according to the World Bank) a 1.5% increase in GDP growth. The World Health Organization has found that access to a consistent supply of electricity can lead to a 20-30 percent reduction in global poverty.

Cheaper energy, and more of it, equals more prosperity.

The most likely source of cheaper energy is the Sun. Solar’s share of power generation in the U.S. is roughly 3%, currently, estimated to double to 6% by the end of next year. The cost of generating a kilowatt of energy from solar panels has dropped tenfold since 2010, to under 3 cents, and in sun-drenched areas of the country, the cost is about half that.

The Sun is a relatively stable energy source; the trick has been to capture and store it efficiently. Today’s commercially-available solar panels convert about 15-22 percent of the energy they receive from the sun into electricity, but a new technology, replacing silicon with perovskite crystals, has demonstrated efficiencies of 30%, and the theoretical upper limit is roughly 65%. Perovskite is cheap and widely available, suggesting that we could see, in the relatively near future, an eight-fold improvement in price to go along with the already-rapid adoption of solar energy.

A doubling of adoption every two years (the current pace) would result in 50% of U.S. energy needs coming from solar by 2028—or earlier—and an 8-fold improvement in price would result in energy prices that are virtually free. If you think this is impossible, look at your long-distance telephone bill and how far technology has taken us toward free calling anywhere in the country, and how quickly. The trend suggests that the U.S.—and the world—is going to be much more prosperous in the future, as our energy bills become far less expensive.

This article was written for information purposes only and its content should not be construed by any consumer and/or prospective client as rebel Financial’s solicitation to affect, or attempt to affect transactions in securities, or the rendering of personalized investment advice for compensation. No client or prospective client should assume that any such discussion serves as the receipt of, or a substitute for, personalized advice from rebel Financial, or from any other investment professional. See our disclosures page for more information.


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