Tony Seba …

… worked in business development at Cisco Systems in 1993. He still recalls looking at the growth of the Internet and thinking, “If this market continues to grow at this rate, it’s going to be on a billion devices within a decade.”

Back then many people looked at him strangely when he said that. Most people did not even know what the Internet was, let alone believe that they themselves and a billion other people would soon own an Internet-connected device.

In 1990 there was one  web server and one web browser. They both ran on Tim Berners-Lee’s NeXT Computer at CERN in Switzerland. The first web server outside Europe saw the light of day December 1991 at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in Palo Alto, California. Today there are more than ten billion interconnected devices.

Solar is on a similar exponential trajectory. Globally, solar PV installed capacity has grown from just 1.4 GW in 2000 to 141 GW in 2013. This represents a compounded annual growth rate – CAGR – of 43%.

Should solar PV continue to grow at a 43% annual clip, the solar capacity installed base will be 56.7 TW by 2030. This is approximately the equivalent of 18.9 TW of conventional baseload power. World demand for energy is expected to be 16.9 TW by 2030, according to the US Energy Information Agency.

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