Plugging in Green Tech

For many promising green technologies, technical progress has not translated into widespread adoption, owing to the structure of the market. To understand why, green-energy advocates could take a lesson from a far less glamorous technology: used cars.

BELLEVUE, WASHINGTON – By most measures, solar energy should be a resounding success. Technical breakthroughs and continuous improvements in efficiency have driven the price of solar panels from $100 per watt in the 1970’s to less than $1 per watt today.

Yet solar technology still accounts for less than 1% of global energy consumption. For solar energy, as for many other promising green technologies, technical progress has not translated into widespread adoption.

The problem lies in the structure of the market. To understand why, green-energy advocates could take a lesson from a far less glamorous technology: used cars.

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