Though solar power still accounts for less than 1% of total energy production in the U.S., a three-year plan by OptiSolar and SunPower to build the world's two largest solar farms in California would nearly double the country's entire solar-panel capacity. One expert says solar power could provide 10% of U.S. energy by 2025 due to economies of scale and falling technology prices. Another factor bringing prices down: utilities are installing panels on neighborhood roofs, reducing the need for expensive, long-distance transmission lines.

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