Solar power has become so cheap that it is beating out solar power. Photovoltaic panels have dropped to $0.06/kilowatt hour. That is now significantly cheaper than the massive solar power farms that covered acres with mirrors that directed sunlight at central collection towers. The cost of building and operating a large scale system remains about $0.15/kilowatt hour. Solar panels benefit from technological improvements. Old panels can be exchanged or added to. Decentralized power also means optimized distribution. Central solar systems originally were developed because they used simpler technology and materials: mirrors, concrete, steel, and conventional steam plant equipment; and could also benefit from economies of scale. That scale also means they take longer to build, require far more land, and amplify any failures. The fact that solar power is out-competing solar power is a sign that the technology and industry is maturing.

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