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Two alternative futures for solar energy
Posted: 20 June 2018

Quartz says the solar power revolution is in grave danger of collapse by 2050, and needs a serious commitment to increased investment to 'succeed'. I disagree fundamentally for two reasons. One, the column looks at two scenarios out to 2050, but essentially only takes current technology trends into account. As we all know, tech is characterized by exponential improvements in efficiency and effectiveness over time, and as-yet-undiscovered breakthroughs, like 3D printed solar paint, graphene batteries, and the like could render these scenarios completely irrelevant.
Secondly, the authors have a preconceived notion of what 'success' means for solar energy. Saving the world from climate change is not my definition of success for solar. Becoming the dominant source of energy, and democratizing energy, putting the consumer in charge, and enabling an 'energy internet' - that's the solar revolution that will change the world. Hopefully it will be a lot cleaner, with less smoke and real pollution, and we'll find a way to make solar energy abundant without lots of rare earth mining and toxic chemical processes. But let's get off the carbon emissions bandwagon, that's a hide into nothing.

The solar revolution is in grave danger, but we can save it
20 June 2018
The world is facing two futures: let the solar revolution sputter out and face ruin or harness solar power to help reign in climate change.
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Doug Vining The future of solar energy is all about storage. Flow batteries could be the answer:
https://singularityhub.com/2018/07/02/the-new-energy-storage-tech-gates-bezos-ma-and-branson-are-investing-in/
Posted: 3 July 2018 at 15:49
 
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