Experts have massively underestimated solar. Why? (Solar: Part 1)

This is part 1 of a three part series.  Look here for Part 2 and Part 3.

Last year the joists undergirding our carbon-fueled energy system shuddered and flexed.  But in the US, barely anyone noticed.

From Forbes:

The latest battering to coal’s standing came when Dubai announced June 27 that it would build a massive 800-megawatt solar plant that will produce electricity at an average cost of 2.99 cents a kilowatt hour, substantially below what even coal-fired power plants charge.

The price of 2.99 ¢/kWh was 30% cheaper than coal.  It was half the price of a solar bid in Dubai just 18 months earlier.  It was without subsidies.

And it’s not a fluke. Continue reading

The world at a tipping point (Solar: Part 3)

This is part 3 of a three part series.  See here for part 1 and part 2.

Looking for belief in the history of technology development is like looking for the seat of consciousness in the brain.  We can take the brain apart, neuron by neuron, and ask what each cell does.  But nowhere in the system do we get a sense of how they work together; of what makes this warm, pink jelly a soul.

Similarly, the industrial and logistics improvements that make a technology cheaper seem dry, deterministic, and inevitable.  But none of them had to happen today.  It is speed, not engineering alone, that wins markets.  It is speed that transforms civilization.

And when customers and suppliers move in rhythm, it’s astonishing how quickly a technology can grow. Continue reading