Gregory Nemet’s “How Solar Became Cheap: A Model for Low-Carbon Innovation” will be available in June 2019 and will be available for purchase on Amazon. Gregory Nemet is a member of the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies and is a Professor in the La Follette School of Public Affairs. Nemet’s research focuses on understanding the process of technological change and the ways in which public policy can affect it.
Despite the large literature on solar, including analyses of increasingly detailed datasets, the question as to how solar became inexpensive and why it took so long still remains unanswered. Drawing on developments in the US, Japan, Germany, Australia, and China, this book provides a truly comprehensive and international explanation for how solar has become inexpensive. Understanding the reasons for solar’s success enables us to take full advantage of solar’s potential. It can also teach us how to support other low-carbon technologies with analogous properties, including small modular nuclear reactors and direct air capture. However, the urgency of addressing climate change means that a key challenge in applying the solar model is in finding ways to speed up innovation. Offering suggestions and policy recommendations for accelerated innovation is another key contribution of this book.