A tipping point means that it’s more effective and less expensive than the alternatives, says Ray Kurzweil – inventor, writer, futurist, CEO of Kurzweil Technologies. He said he believes the tipping point for solar energy will come soon.
Solar power currently provides less than 1% of the world’s energy, but a panel of experts announced in early 2008 that solar energy is part of a sustainable future.
According to Kurzweil, solar energy is going to be economically attractive. ‘Even if particular organizations don’t care about the environment, they’re going to go with the least expensive solution. Solar energy has the added benefits that it’s renewable, it’s friendly to the environment, and we have plenty of solar energy. ‘We have 10,000 times more sunlight that we need to meet all of our energy needs,’ Kurzweil told EarthSky.
In energy, the tipping point is well defined – that is the cost per watt. Right now, using these old traditional solar panels, the energy per watt is 3 or 4 times more expensive than fossil fuels. But, solar energy cost is coming down, whereas fossil fuels are doing the opposite. And based on those trajectories, a crossing point where solar energy will be cheaper than fossil fuels is definitely within 5 years, maybe sooner, Kurzweil predicts.
Our thanks to Ray Kurzweil
Raymond Kurzweil is a world-renowned inventor and futurist, and the founder of many companies, including Kurzweil Technologies. He has been a pioneer in the fields of optical character recognition, text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments. He is the author of several books on health, artificial intelligence, transhumanism, the technological singularity, and futurism.
Learning to love science. As a producer for EarthSky, Lindsay Patterson interviews some of the world's most fascinating scientists. Through EarthSky, her work content is syndicated on some of the world's top media websites, including USAToday.com and Reuters.com. Patterson is also charged with helping to stay in steady communication with the thousands of scientists who contribute to EarthSky's work of making the voice of science heard in a noisy world. She graduated from Colorado College with a degree in creative writing, and a keen interest in all forms of journalism and media.