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The US government, along with many investors such as Chevron, Goldman Sachs, and Google, is confident that solar power could become much cheaper than coal within the next 12 years. Taking into consideration tax incentives, carbon-capping legislation and the rising prices of natural gas, experts think that solar power is going to be more economical than coal by 2020.
“Chevron, Goldman Sachs, FPL, PG&E and other companies have filed more than 50 applications with the Bureau of Land Management to lease government-owned desert property for solar power systems. Google’s philantropic division put $10 million into eSolar, a start-up in Pasadena, California.” –Greg Chang, Bloomberg.
Along with the good progress of photovoltaic panels towards becoming cheaper and more efficient, investors are getting more excited about the potential of solar thermal technology. Implementing mirrors to direct sunlight to power turbines in desert areas could cover at least 50-percent of the local power requirements.
In the Mojave Desert, Sun Microsystems developed a thermal solar plant which contains 550,000 mirrors that tie together the sun’s energy and convert it into enough power to supply about 112,500 houses in the Los Angeles area. Though the costs are much higher than coal, this power station certainly shows the effectiveness of solar energy.
Sooner or later, it is going to happen.
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