It’s always good to stop and remember who our real competitors are in the solar industry. While on a daily basis, solar companies may feel they’re competing against one another, our real competitors are fossil fuels. Some would add nuclear to that mix.

Who’s winning this competition? Solar and wind, naturally. Two recent articles explain why.

How much power does it take to run a lightbulb?

What better way to shed light on the matter than with a simple lightbulb? Let’s start with the fact that lighting consumes 19% of the world’s power, a significant amount.

As reported by Forbes, Good Magazine decided to take a look at how much energy it takes to power a lightbulb. These results show solar and wind coming out ahead of other energy forms:

  • Coal: 714 pounds (requires new fuel to keep running)
  • Natural Gas: 143 pounds (requires new fuel to keep running)
  • Nuclear: 0.35 pounds (requires new fuel to keep running)
  • Solar: 8 days, 8 hours, 14 seconds of energy from 100 square meters of solar panels (all new fuel is free)
  • Wind: 2 hours, 20 minutes, 9 seconds from a 1.5 MW turbine at 25% capacity (all new fuel is free)
  • Hydroelectric: 2 hours, 35 minutes (these plants are now at risk in areas like California with serious droughts)

Forbes points out that of these sources, solar is likely the cheapest.


Which energy generation source is growing fastest? 

CleanTechnica sheds light on another sign that solar and wind are winning on a global scale. Citing a recent Vital Signs report from Worldwatch Institute, the CleanTechnica article notes that renewables have been growing as nuclear energy shrinks.

In fact, solar and wind have been going even further:

“Solar and wind energy are gaining fast on nuclear — and are now, more or less, on the same trajectory that nuclear power was on in the 1970s and 1980s, in its heyday.” 


Renewables have been growing so fast that their share of power generation has increased from 18.7% in 2000 to 22.7% in 2012. Recent studies and projections show solar power’s share continuing to increase rapidly. 

Given how effective solar and wind are at powering lightbulbs, we have a feeling their growth rate will only increase.