iShares explores the past, present and future of solar through 7 illuminating facts

Capital at risk. All financial investments involve an element of risk. Therefore, the value of the investment and the income from it will vary and the initial investment amount cannot be guaranteed.

What’s the big picture?

Firstly, solar power is the most abundant energy source on Earth

There's enough solar energy hitting the Earth every hour to meet all of world’s power needs for an entire year.

Source: US Department
of Energy, June 2018.

Where did it all start?

Way back in 1954 the first silicon solar cell was built by Bell Laboratories

The New York Times proclaimed the milestone, "the beginning of a new era, leading eventually to the realization of one of mankind’s most cherished dreams -- the harnessing of the almost limitless energy of the sun"

Source: US Department of Energy, June 2018.

Things rocketed forward after this and…

Four years later Vanguard 1
became the first satellite
powered by solar in 1958

The Vanguard 1 remains the oldest manmade satellite in orbit,
logging more than 6 billion miles.

Source: US Department of Energy, June 2018.

That was 1958, why isn’t everything now powered by solar?

Cost is one reason, but this is improving…

Between 1977 and 2017 solar panel costs fell by 99%

In 1977, it cost $77 per watt for a simple solar cell, the cost of a solar cell is now roughly $0.21 per watt.


Source: Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research, October 2017.

The US government pledged $30 million for battery technology research

The Department of Energy announced funding of $30 million for next-generation technology leading to batteries that can store electricity in bulk for 10 hours.

Source: World Economic Forum, May 2018.

Which country is investing much more than the US in solar?

China is the world leader in solar energy...by a lot

In the first six months of 2017 China installed 24.4 GW of new solar power systems which is almost four times more than the US.

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Source: GTM Research, November 2017.