Technology Learning: Wind Electric Generators, Solar Photovoltaics, and Fuel Cells

Steve Bernow

The purpose of this study is to investigate the empirical basis in recent history for cost reductions for three advanced energy technologies—solar photovoltaics, wind turbines, and fuel cells—and their prospects for further cost reductions. The report presents simple models based on manufacturing output and research and development (R&D) spending for each of these three technologies. Policymakers and modelers can use these tools to help assess policies such as the renewable portfolio standard and R&D subsidies, as well as more general policies such as emission taxes or cap-and-trade systems.