Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Interesting Solar Power Talk

Travis Bradford author of Solar Revolution gives an hour lecture at Microsoft. Quite interesting and worth the watch.

He thinks that the way solar power prices are being compared to other forms of power generation is incorrect and solar is much more cost effective if compared properly.

Some highlights:

  • There is more than sufficient demand to increase scale 10-50x today's level

  • Estimates just over 50% of new US electrical generation in 2025 will be solar

  • By 2020, 20-30% of European energy could be met cost-effectively with solar energy vs. forecast market penetration of 1.1%

He also sees solar prices improving by 20% for every doubling of production (seen in graph). With production increasing 30% a year this leads to price decreases of 6% a year which will continue for the foreseeable future.

He also states that decentralized PV will be ascendant over grid based centralized power generation. I am not convinced. The amount of sunshine that falls in Nevada is twice that of what falls in Seattle. With that much more potential, it might be more cost effective to put all the panels in Nevada and have power lines ship the energy up to the Pacific Northwest. Makes more sense to me than sticking those panels where the sun don't shine.

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