In India, electricity from solar panels is now cheaper than that from diesel generators. The news – which will boost India’s “Solar Mission” to install 20,000 megawatts of solar power by 2022 – could have implications for other developing nations too, reports Michael Marshall at New Scientist. Recent Bloomberg figures show that the price of solar panels fell by almost 50 per cent in 2011 and are now just one-quarter of what they were in 2008, making them cheap enough for many people in developing countries. Most Indians are connected to a faulty grid with frequent blackouts, and use diesel generators as backups. But diesel engines produces the climate-changing gas carbon dioxide and the fumes are linked to cancer, respiratory disease, and heart disease. Now the increasingly efficient scale of solar panel production has reduced solar’s price to half that of diesel. A solar panel is more expensive than a diesel generator, but pays for itself after seven years and lasts 25 years. Solar is also cheaper than diesel in most sunny countries, potentially opening up vast markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America.