Posted by: crudbasher | June 13, 2012

Solar Power Is Cheaper Where It Is Sunny

As I said Monday, I am working on a Big Thought ™ this week. Monday I wrote about a story of how many people in Africa could have smartphones in 5 years. Today let’s talk about energy.

(cc) Mike Weston

Believe it or not, solar power is an IT technology. The processes to produce them are similar to the ones to make computer chips so they benefit from technological advances in that field. Governments are seeding development money in many countries so improvements are being made every year. In the article below, it talks about how the price of solar fell by 50% in 2011. If they do that a few more years, then they will be cheaper than other forms of energy, especially if you consider you don’t need a lot of infrastructure to support them. If I have a solar panel on my house providing energy, then I don’t need a powerplant somewhere else, transmission lines, distribution substations, etc… It’s just me.

Now the big problem in energy production is not production itself actually, it’s power storage. In other words, what do you do when the sun isn’t shining? Batteries are not close to good enough yet. Perhaps flywheels would work? Somebody will solve this problem though (and get very very rich) and then the world will change.

The article below also talks about how there are places in Africa that will be getting solar soon because it is so sunny. As I said Monday, somehow these different pieces will fit together into something that will change the US education system. That will be the Friday post. Please stay tuned! (come to think of it, how many young people understand what that phrase means? lol)

    • Recent figures from market analysts Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) show that the price of solar panels fell by almost 50 per cent in 2011. They are now just one-quarter of what they were in 2008. That makes them a cost-effective option for many people in developing countries.
    • It is all largely down to economies of scale, says Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis at BNEF. In 2011, enough solar panels were produced worldwide to generate 27 gigawatts, compared with 7.7 GW in 2009. Chase says solar power is now cheaper than diesel “anywhere as sunny as Spain”. That means vast areas of Latin America, Africa and Asia could start adopting solar power.
    • The one thing stopping households buying a solar panel is the initial cost, says Amit Kumar, director of energy-environment technology development at The Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi, India. Buying a solar panel is more expensive than buying a diesel generator, but according to Chase’s calculations solar becomes cheaper than diesel after seven years. The panels last 25 years.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Responses

  1. […] with a story that most of Africa would have a smartphone in 5 years. Yesterday I wrote about how solar power is dropping in price quickly and worked best in places with lots of sun. Today I am writing about tech incubators in […]


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