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1954 to 2050:
Shining a light on solar

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

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.

Solar battery
Solar battery charged

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”

Solar battery cells

Source: US Department of Energy, June 2018.

Things rocketed forward after this and...
Solar satellite

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.

Why isn’t everything now
powered by solar? Cost is one reason.

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.

What else has held solar energy back?

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.

Artboard 1

Source: GTM Research, November 2017.

Is the future bright?

Between 2016 and 2050, solar and wind are
expected to grow 4-5 times faster than every
other source of power.

In 2016 solar and wind accounted for 6% of global power generation, while
McKinsey predicts this will increase to over a third by 2050.

Source: McKinsey - Energy 2050:
Insights from the ground up, Nov 2016.

Investing in a sustainable future