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Unlimited Energy for Food? It’s Only A Matter of Time

Touch the Soil News #553

It is true, that one of the more exciting arenas to follow these days is the ever-evolving food chain. However, there are exciting times today in the arena of energy – which is intricately tied to food. While most people do not grow their own food, that situation may change. If energy becomes more affordable and sustainable, the world will not only have community gardens, but community greenhouses, and lots of urban agriculture greenhouses in northern climates.

While the world is still psychologically hooked to coal and oil, this is all on a path of change.

This year, 2016, has been remarkable in terms of solar energy advancements. Consider that in 1975, the cost of a solar panel was $101.05 per watt. Today, that cost is a miniscule 45 cents per watt – or 225 times less. But this is just part of the picture. The following chart reveals the increase in global energy production from solar power over the past 16 years.

Since 2000, energy production from solar has increased 234 fold. Estimates are that in 2016 alone some 70 gigawatts of new solar came on line – enough to power 21 million homes.

As the cost of solar continues to fall and efficiencies continue to rise, the world is on a trajectory of positive change that will, among many other things, change how we approach food. Bringing year-round food production to northern climates – and backyards – may not be a pipe dream in the not-to-distant future.

In the United States, the Solar Energy Industries Association reports that today there are commercial solar farms producing 15 gigawatts of energy (4.5 million homes). There are 9 gigawatts of commercial solar energy under construction (2.7 million homes). There are 33.6 gigawatts of commercial solar under development (10 million homes).

Following are a couple of video clips on the emerging solar mega trend:

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