Taken from the March 7, 2008 issue of The Week magazine page 22.
"Environmentalists have been touting solar energy for years, but engineering problems have limited its usefulness, and solar now provides only 1 percent of the world's energy. But widely respected futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil says that's about to change. This isn't the first time that Kurzweil has made a bold prediction: He foretold the explosive growth of the Internet, the common availability of wireless access, and the fall of the Soviet Union. In the next five years , Kurzweil now predicts, nano-engineered materials currently being developed will transform solar energy into a viable alternative to oil and other fossil fuels. The new nano-materials will make solar panels light, inexpensive, and, most of all, far more efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. The sunlight falling on Earth offers 10,000 times the amount of energy that humankind consumes every year, so Kurzweil says that once we perfect solar power, we'll be energy-rich, able to power our homes and make hydrogen fuel cells for our cars. Kurzweil tells LiveScience.com that the engineering problems involved in solar energy are similar to those in computer technology, in which advances have proceeded at an ever-accelerating rate of speed. 'I'm confident that we are not that far away from a tipping point where energy from solar will be [economically] competitive with fossil fuels,' he says. In two decades, he says, solar will produce most of the energy we need."
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