Electricity here in Los Angeles is 17.8 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). Not far away, Mexicans get solar electric for one-tenth the price. And by 2019, the price could drop to 1¢/kWh.
Soon we’re going to have to confront new questions as solar power costs less than anything seriously considered before, and will offer new opportunities never thought of before. What will we do with all of this cheap energy? How do we move from fossil systems toward solar sources without destroying the social fabric of those dependent on revenue from gas and coal? How will our post scarcity society continue to advance? It’s going to be more difficult to live up to the potentials of solar and ‘free energy’ than we think.
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What will happen to Trump's promise to revive the coal industry as the price of solar energy continues to drop?
"Not only did solar create almost 2% of all new U.S. jobs last year, those hires were concentrated in the states where solar is booming primarily because of market-friendly policies," said Amit Ronen, director of the George Washington University's Solar Institute.
Trump has also threatened to pull U.S. support for the Paris Agreement, which last year saw voluntary pledges by 195 nations to lower CO2 emissions. But the impact of such a move would be negligible at best in helping the coal industry, analysts said.
"Even if he did all those things..., which would require legislative hurdles, the economics still favor gas more as an energy generation source," said Colleen Kennedy, an oil and energy analyst with at Lux Research. "The economics just don't work out in favor of coal."