Bloomberg View, 10 June, 2017.
Donald Trump justified his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement by claiming that compliance would impose crippling economic burdens on the United States. “I happen to love the coal miners,” Trump declared, before reaffirming his intention to make the fossil fuel the centerpiece of the nation’s energy policy.
The backlash against the president was ferocious, but mainly focused on his lack of concern for the catastrophic effects of climate change. Far less attention has been directed at his conviction that coal will be cheaper than renewable sources of energy in the foreseeable future.
This is a question, luckily, that history can help answer. Recent research suggests that certain technologies introduced over the past two centuries exhibit very predictable rates of advancement, becoming more efficient — and thus cheaper — at a steady clip. And solar energy is one of those technologies. Looking into the past can give us a glimpse of the future.
This very Moore-ish trajectory permits us to make reasonably secure predictions about the future cost of solar power. There’s a very slim chance those predictions could be wrong, but compared to predicting the cost of coal — which is akin to spinning a roulette wheel – we can get some glimpse of the future.
And that future will almost certainly be dominated by solar — not because it’s “green,” but because it’s cheap. Indeed, the authors’ data suggests that there’s a fifty-fifty chance that solar will become competitive with coal as early as 2024; there’s a good chance that could happen even sooner. Indeed, it already has in some countries.
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Electric vehicles maker Tesla Motors recently presented a much-awaited solar roof product developed with SolarCity. The tiles are made from quartz glass and solar cells. The solution will cost less than a traditional roof when the expected utility bill savings are taken into account, the company says. The solar tiles are one element of a three-part solution, including also energy storage and electric cars. Midsummer’s Sven Lindström’s wrote an analysis “Solar on houses needed for 2020 target” recently where he says the future of urban solar energy lies in integrating PV into roofing materials and facades already at the factory. Lindström says that because Tesla has shown its ability to produce electric cars successfully, he is confident that PV roof tiles will be so successful that roof material manufacturers that do not have a PV solution maybe need to re-think their business model.
BDLive, 21 July, 2016.
DETROIT — On Wednesday, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk unveiled an ambitious plan to expand the company into electric trucks and buses, car sharing and solar energy systems.
In a blog post titled “Master Plan, Part Deux”, Musk sketched a vision of an integrated carbon-free energy enterprise offering a wider range of vehicles, and products and services beyond electric cars and batteries.
The newest elements of the strategy included plans to develop car-and ride-sharing programmes, as well as commercial vehicles — businesses where other companies already compete, and in some cases have ample head starts on Tesla…
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Renewable energy services company SolarAfrica has launched a new rooftop solar solution, tailored specifically for South Africa’s large sectional-title market. The offering is designed to provide homeowners in complexes and estates with immediate access to affordable solar energy without having to p…