For my final project, I wanted to tell a story that’s about data & numbers, & one that brings me great optimism for the future of climate solutions: solar power. The price of photovoltaic solar has come down 99% in the last 4 decades, 90% in the last decade, & many experts expect that trend to continue. This trend is dramatic enough a few numbers don’t tell the story, so I wanted to illustrate them.
Right now direct air capture (DAC), for sucking carbon emissions out of the atmosphere to sequester them back in the ground, costs $600/ton, whereas low-quality carbon offsets can cost $5/ton—if DAC dropped in price by the same 99% while making efficiency gains similar to solar, it’d be cheaper than bad offsets. DAC is one of many technologies we need many orders of magnitude more of, while improving its performance; there’s also lithium-ion batteries, water electrolyzers for energy storage through green hydrogen, heat pumps for heating & cooling, merely for the electrification arm of solving climate change, plus low-carbon industrial processes, new agricultural technologies, and more forms of carbon removal.
I did key research & got the chart data for most charts on Solar Optimism from Our World in Data, which was spectacularly helpful. I made the website using React & Next.js, Tailwind CSS, Recharts for most charts, visx for the map, and Framer Motion for the animations. It’s designed for viewing on a widescreen (desktop/tablet) computer.Open project
Check out the source code on GitHub here.