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Ray Kurzweil: Here’s Why Solar Will Dominate Energy Within 12 Years

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Photograph by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Photograph by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Excerpt: Fortune Magazine; April 16, 2016; David Z. Morris

Ray Kurzweil has made a bold prediction about the future of solar energy, saying in remarks at a recent medical technology conference that it could become the dominant force in energy production in a little over a decade. That may be tough to swallow, given that solar currently only supplies around 2% of global energy—but Kurzweil’s predictions have been overwhelmingly correct over the last two decades, so he’s worth listening to.

Kurzweil’s basic point […] was that while solar is still tiny, it has begun to reliably double its market share every two years—today’s 2% share is up from just 0.5% in 2012.

[…]

linear analysis ignores what Kurzweil calls the Law of Accelerating Returns—that as new technologies get smaller and cheaper, their growth becomes exponential.

So instead of looking at year over year growth in percentage terms, Kurzweil says we should look at the rate of growth—the fact that solar market share is doubling every two years. If the current 2% share doubles every two years, solar should have a 100% share of the market in 12 years.

Okay, technically, that would suggest solar would have a 128% share of the market in 12 years. Some might love that—but it highlights the fact that Kurzweil’s prediction is only partially grounded in the real world. Even 100% share is extremely unlikely—fossil fuel giants are definitely not going down without a fight.

But even those giants ignore Kurzweil at their own peril. He predicted the mobile Internet, cloud computing, and wearable tech nearly 20 years ago—all on the basis of the same principle of accelerating returns that’s behind his solar call.

California Will Require Solar Power for New Homes

Posted by | Clean Energy, Electricity, Saving Money, Solar Energy System | No Comments

Ecoforce Solutions

New York Times, May 9, 2018, Ivan Penn

SACRAMENTO — Long a leader and trendsetter in its clean-energy goals, California took a giant step on Wednesday, becoming the first state to require all new homes to have solar power.

The new requirement, to take effect in two years, brings solar power into the mainstream in a way it has never been until now. It will add thousands of dollars to the cost of home when a shortage of affordable housing is one of California’s most pressing issues.

That made the relative ease of its approval — in a unanimous vote by the five-member California Energy Commission before a standing-room crowd, with little debate — all the more remarkable.

State officials and clean-energy advocates say the extra cost to home buyers will be more than made up in lower energy bills. That prospect has won over even the construction industry, which has embraced solar capability as a selling point.

“This adoption of these standards represents a quantum leap,” Bob Raymer, senior engineer for the California Building Industry Association, said during the public comments before the vote. “You can bet every state will be watching to see what happens.”

[…]
The utility industry has been preparing for the proliferation of energy-producing homes by studying its impact on the electric grid with tests like a net-zero community developed in Fontana, east of Los Angeles. The utilities are trying to determine how to manage a system where homes are putting electricity onto the grid during the day and consuming it at night.

“We’ve been working towards it,” said Ram Narayanamurthy, technical executive at the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit group that does research for the nation’s power companies. “What we think we will see is greater and greater efficiency.”

The Fontana research has shown that with a combination of energy-efficiency measures and solar power, the overall cost of owning a home is reduced, he said.

Solar Farm Helps Apple Run on 100% Renewable Energy

Posted by | Clean Energy, Electricity, Saving Money, Solar Energy System, Technical | No Comments

 

Ecoforce Solutions

04-08-2018; Fast Company (excerpt); Mark Sullivan

You have to see Apple’s Reno, Nevada, data center from the inside to truly understand how huge it is. It’s made up of five long white buildings sitting side by side on a dry scrubby landscape just off I-80, and the corridor that connects them through the middle is a quarter-mile long. On either side are big, dark rooms–more than 50 of them–filled with more than 200,000 identical servers, tiny lights winking in the dark from their front panels. This is where Siri lives. And iCloud. And Apple Music. And Apple Pay.

Powering all these machines, and keeping them cool, takes a lot of power–constant, uninterrupted, redundant power. At the Reno data center, that means 100% green power from three different Read More

Renewable Energy Jobs Reach 10.3 Million Worldwide in 2017

Posted by | Jobs, Solar Energy System, Technical | No Comments

Abu Dhabi, UAE: 8 May 2018 — The renewable energy industry created more than 500,000 new jobs globally in 2017, a 5.3 per cent increase from 2016, according to the latest figures released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). According to the fifth edition of Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review, launched at IRENA’s 15th Council in Abu Dhabi today, the total number of people employed in the sector (including large hydropower) now stands at 10.3 million globally, surpassing the 10 million figure for the first time.

China, Brazil, the United States, India, Germany and Japan remain the world’s largest renewable energy employers, representing more than Read More