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20081209 Tuesday December 09, 2008

The Solar Decade

Ten years ago, you might have been advised that solar energy, while sounding nice, was a bad investment. The installations were failure prone and not cost effective. I don't know if I bought that then, I know of solar panels in San Francisco installed in the 80's that paid for themselves, just slowly. But what we're seeing isn't your father's solar panel. From Google's solar panels to residential rooftops, it seems pretty clear that the Economics of Solar Power Are Looking Brighter. Fast Company is running an article The Solar Industry Gains Ground that sounds a chord that we're hearing a lot of. Solar energy is getting more and more cost effective. What's projected is that the cost of solar power may share up-and-to-the-right properties of Moore's Law. The fabs that make the silicon enabling you to read this may also enable an energy giant leap forward. The Germans have their own "Solar Valley" and their industry projection graph appears pretty Moorish (look at the large yellow area).

The big lift off is 10 years away but the investment that has been made in the area and the advances being made seem to put the benefits close at hand. But the big win, when dependence on fossil fuels are on a clear decline, is at leat 10 and 20 years out. But I think it can happen, I think the solar decade is coming. It should be the coming decade. However, it will require an Apollo-mission like focus from the Obama administration to succeed. And I hope we can make it a reality.


( Dec 09 2008, 11:55:24 PM PST ) Permalink