Exxon Predicted the Cost Curve for Solar Decades Ago

By Stephen Lacey from Greentech Media

Many were caught off guard by the emergence of solar as a competitive power source. The scientist who led Exxon’s research arm back in the 1980s wasn’t one of them.

Peter Eisenberger, now an environmental science professor at Columbia’s Earth Institute, co-authored an internal report for Exxon projecting that solar wouldn’t become viable until 2012 or 2013. The report, written before he left the company in 1989, suggested that Exxon would do best to sell its solar assets; not surprisingly, the company did just that. What is surprising is that Exxon’s 25-year-old solar projections nailed the timing for the arrival of affordable solar power.

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