Birthing a Solar Age

the world is almost entirely solar-powered already if the Sun wasn't there would be a frozen high school at 3 degrees Kelvin for the first time we're going to buy solar under five cents a kilowatt hour and that puts solar competitive with wind competitive with natural gas competitive with coal and competitive with nuclear in fact it meets them all and that's a revolution the company that brought you the iPod and iPad is shrinking its carbon footprint building the nation's largest privately-owned solar farm to run its data center in Mayton North Carolina not only are our buildings becoming much more energy efficient they're starting to generate their own power on-site if I put solar on my rooftop and when the sun is shining intensely and the solar panels are working to their optimum my meter is actually running backwards because I'm I'm generating more electricity than I'm actually using and even if a household can't afford to buy expensive solar panels there are so many companies out there where you can lease the panel's no ma no upfront costs and it actually is cheaper on your pay zero up front we will install panels on your roof so let's get down to the dollars and cents of it all use your own electric bill and here two new one plus what you paid to son jeopardy to lease solar together it's less than your bold electric bill solo city purchases and installs the panel on the roof and then charges the homeowner or business owner a monthly lease payments which which is less than utility for our power that we plug into is centralized in this country the centralizing utilities and it means the political power is centralized abilities and the radical promise of solar power for a Tea Party activists like Debbie or a lefty like myself right is decentralizing that power so that Southern Company isn't just controlling the power people actually are controlling their own fate and power of the hundred billion dollars in renewable energy investment in Germany today fifty percent of that is owned by people like you and me most important thing that's happened in the renewable energy business in the last ten years has been the precipitous drop in pricing for solar especially utility great solar the solar thing in particular makes sense to a lot of conservatives back home we believe that this giant utility monopoly deserve some competition and consumers deserve a choice you know I just this is music to my ears I think this is where you and I can agree about monopolies because when we talk about the energy market we are not talking about anything that looks anything like a free market it's not the market for cars the market for shoes the market for soda pop in Georgia right you've got one company basically controlling your electricity and consumers have no say in where that electricity comes from you are absolutely correct because renewable energy offers the opportunity not only to offset climate damaging gases from fossil fuel generation reduce the risk from nuclear power they also have this other possibility of changing the way we develop an own our electric power system they're kind of building a distributed new type of distributed utility exactly what what it amounts to is a giant distributed utility and it's I think it's a good thing because utilities have been this monopoly that and people haven't had any choice so effectively it's the first time you've there's been competition for this monopoly because the the the utilities have been the only ones that owned those power distribution lines but now it's on your roof so I think it's actually very empowering for homeowners and businesses in Europe we now have millions and millions of small players families farmers rural and urban residents small businesses cooperatives that are actually producing a huge amounts of solar and wind generated electricity at near zero marginal cost two weeks ago on Sunday and I want everyone here this 75% of the electricity that powered all of Germany and Germany is the most powerful economic capitalist market system in the world per capita 75% of that electricity that powered all of Germany two weeks ago a solar and wind then when we have something like lots of wind creating a lot of supply that is more than the demand and though prices can fall negative and that's why that day the actual prices for electricity on the German grid went to negative as the electricity was free as we all know is in quite high wind speeds over the last few weeks so it is generally just a winter phenomenon no it can happen in summer as well whenever there's a lot of solar energy because Germany has been really adding a lot of renewable capacity they have very ambitious 2020 targets and so it's happening more and more it could be for some hours which is the intraday market but these prices we've seen are for a whole day for day ahead which is happening more and more as well in fact the companies are actually paying people to take electricity off them we send to the power companies look millions of people are now generating their own green electricity pretty soon tens of millions within 20 years hundreds and millions of buildings offices factories and neighborhoods are gonna create their own green electricity on the same curve and that we seen with computing well the old model is going to not work anymore and the smart utility executives are going to start finding different ways to make their companies profitable this is what happened with file-sharing and music this is what happened with Wikipedia this is what happened with YouTube when millions of small players come together and they create the software and the connections their power overwhelms these old-fashioned nuclear and coal fire and natural gas plants it isn't even it isn't even a competition this is a fundamentally different type of power plant and they can spread much more rapidly than any of the other types of power production that we've seen in our history that makes it a truly disruptive technology we say to the power companies your job is no longer to create fossil fuel and nuclear power your job your new mission will be to manage the energy internet because that's a technical proposition historically electric utilities have survived by selling electricity and volume and the more they sold the more money they made what we said to them is here's your new business model and as a utility and power company you need to sell as little electricity as you can sell the less electricity you sell the more money you're going to make after all people don't really want to buy electricity they want the services that electricity provides heating and cooling for their homes and their refrigerators and their computers and so forth so the electric utility has to get into the business of providing those services by integrating and coordinating distributed generation located on the buildings and in other locations throughout the system but the old model of generator selling – Atkins – a customer that single relationship is going to change because the customer is going to be able to produce their own energy and you really picture a future where the majority of power in America like within a decade or two or so I'm extremely confident that solar will be at least a plurality of power and most likely a majority and I predict it will be a plurality in less than twenty years I'd say I made that bet with some more definition of polarity is a bit more from solar than any other source you

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