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2015-10-09. A Bright Future.

posted Oct 25, 2015, 12:44 PM by Alan Gould   [ updated Oct 25, 2015, 12:45 PM ]
...a book review written by Amory B. Lovins about Philip Warburg's book "Harness the Sun -- America's Quest for a Solar-Powered Future. The review is inspiring and restorative of optimism that we can emerge from the dark age of fossil fuel energy systems. Excerpts:
"...And while solar power added 32% of new U.S. generating capacity in 2014, in 2013 alone, China added more photovoltaic (PV) capacity than the United States has added since Bell Laboratories unveiled the first modern solar cell in 1954."
"...The solar industry’s pace drives and is driven by steeply falling prices (low prices make us buy more PVs, so they get cheaper, so we buy more, and so on). Spurred by German success, which inspired massive Chinese production, solar modules went on a price path akin to sneakers, falling more than 100-fold since 1975 and by 80% just in the past 5 years."
"...a study conducted by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that claims that in order to supply 100% of America’s power needs from the sun, solar installations would need to be erected on ~0.6 percent of the country’s total land area."
..."utility-scale solar, now averaging under a nickel per kilowatt-hour, generally beats gas plants’ lifetime cost even without valuing carbon or the volatility of gas prices. It’s true that this estimate includes a federal solar subsidy (which is set to fall from 30% to 10% after 2016), but permanent subsidies for nonrenewable energy sources are generally larger."
..."ground-mounted PVs “blanket” up to half the land they occupy, but as he mentions later on, nearly all their total land use can be simultaneously used for livestock grazing, wildlife habitat, or other functions."
If you are AAAS member and can login to the website, you can see the full review at http://www.sciencemag.org/content/350/6257/169.1.full