In 2010, solar modules cost a little over $2 per watt. Many people questioned whether solar costs could come down another 50%.

Well, here we are today with solar modules well below 50 cents per watt, far cheaper than most expectations. And it wasn’t some breakthrough revolutionary technology -- it’s been the crystalline-silicon solar panel the whole time.

History has a tendency to repeat itself. Our guest, Jessika Trancik, an associate professor at MIT’s the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, published research earlier this month showing, quantitatively, that lithium-ion batteries have been repeating history and get cheaper, faster, than nearly anyone anticipated. 

This matters because it could happen again. The obvious next candidate is hydrogen electrolysis, where experts are saying we might be able to reach the promised land of $1 per kilogram by the end of this decade. 

Jessika and Shayle dug into her findings around batteries to see what broader lessons we could learn. We also talked about some other, related and fascinating research she’s done to examine what it will take to reach mass-market EV adoption.

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