The Trends editors have long argued that government subsidies and regulations aimed at forcing deployment of today’s solar technology would be the epitome of what we call dumb-tech. Nothing is worse for an economy than subsidizing bad solutions. It stymies worthwhile innovation, while creating a false sense of accomplishment. But what if solar energy economics could really make a quantum leap in efficiency, effectively making this technology “as cheap as coal”? Is such a leap realistic? If so, what are the hurdles and opportunities that lie ahead? We’ll provide the answers.