There is intense public interest in developing solar power for widespread use, but there are two major problems. First, the sun does not shine all the time, and, as a result, it cannot serve as a reliable energy source without reliable storage technology. More importantly, the cost of solar energy is still 10 times the cost of other energy sources, making it uncompetitive in the energy market. Surprisingly, solar power generation also has environmental impacts that are not fully appreciated. For instance, would people be happy if we had to cover the Mojave Desert with solar collectors? What if we cut down 50 million trees so that they would not shade the solar collectors on our roofs?
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