Solar power could be the answer to aging electrical grids

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Solar power is shaping the future of home.

Homes of the future may rely a lot less on centralized power, and a lot more on sources that are decentralized, renewable, and cheap.

Electricity is the cornerstone of the modern world, but more than a billion people worldwide do without. Those who do live on the grid rely on expensive, aging systems increasingly vulnerable to disasters and attacks, with little back-up. The rapidly dropping price of solar panels may offer a way forward.

Whether they’re Michigan suburbanites looking to pay less each month or Guatemalan homesteaders looking to plug in their first light bulb, today’s solar customers are riding a wave that could change how our lives are wired.

The Future of Home is part of What Happens Next, a series of deeply reported short documentaries that examine aspects of life poised to transform radically in the next decades. We’ve spent two years traveling the world to find the people who aren’t simply making predictions about the future, but are already living them out.