Solar panels have gotten thinner than a human hair. Soon they’ll be everywhere.

Published onApril 11, 2018

One of the reasons I think solar photovoltaic power is going to take over the world is that it is scalable in a way no other power source can be. It can be used to build multi-hundred-megawatt power plants, or it can be scaled down. Way down. How far down? Try less than the width of a human hair…

…these tiny solar cells won’t produce much power individually, but what they lack in energy density, they will make up for in ubiquity. They will be everywhere. And as solar diffuses into infrastructure, so too will energy storage and management. Eventually, the entire built environment of human civilization will become one giant energy harvester and manager. The power system will not be something overlaid onto infrastructure but something that is part and parcel of infrastructure, something infrastructure just does, automatically. Most or all of the power urbanites need will simply exist in a seamless web, all around them. It sounds like sci-fi. But I bet kids born today will live to see something like it.