Cheer up! 5 trends from the past 10 years that should make you happy

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price of solar panels

credit: BNEF

2. Solar power

The chart above clearly shows why I think solar power will take over the world. Prices have been plummeting at exponential rates, and we're just starting to really feel the effects. For most of the past decade, wind power received a lot more attention than solar, but over the long-term, it's the trends that matter. While wind was cheaper for a while, solar was getting cheaper faster than wind was, so solar was bound to overtake its renewable cousin. Over the past decade, worldwide solar capacity went up by over 50x while wind power only did around 7x (still very good!). In fact, demand is starting to outpace supply and we're facing a temporary shortage of solar cells.

This is an incredibly promising trend. Big things are starting to happen as solar power is starting to beat fossil fuels on price, but can you imagine how fast solar will grow in a few years when it is decisively cheaper than all alternatives, partly thanks to solar panel gigafactories, and we have cost-effective grid-scale storage (lithium batteries will keep getting cheaper, but liquid-metal batteries are also very promising).

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