Every four years, one thousand solar scientists from across the world gather to peer into the future of the solar industry. The event is called the World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion (WCPEC). The seventh such event is taking place this week on the big island of Hawaii. I decided to attend the conference to learn… Read MoreContinue Reading
The shift to clean, local energy is a real challenge for many utilities. Their traditional planning models choke on the variability of solar and wind power. Self-generation from rooftop solar and improvements in energy efficiency threaten to end a century of revenue growth. Increases in extreme weather events are making blackouts more common. To get away from all these… Read MoreContinue Reading
May was a great month for clean energy….
* A recent California mandate requires all new homes to have solar panels
* A study shows clean energy is actually more economic than natural gas
* Saudia Arabia announces the biggest solar project in history
* The U.S. House and Senate push back on Trump’s plans to wind down clean energy programs.
Most Americans give little thought to their electricity. Even though we spend between 3% and 7% of our income on power bills, we only engage with our power companies 10 minutes a year. Would it surprise you to learn that electricity is one of the largest and most profitable industries in the U.S? If we want… Read MoreContinue Reading
Microgrids are the epitome of Local Energy. As the name suggests, microgrids are miniature versions of the big grid. They generate their own power and they have their own loads. And, if the grid goes down, microgrids continue to operate in what the industry calls “island mode”. Even though there are only a few thousand built so… Read MoreContinue Reading
This is the second in a three-part series on the origins of the modern power industry. Part 1 can be found at How Edison, Tesla, and other visionaries invented the modern grid. The sparks that started the AC/DC current wars By the late 1880s, Edison was on his way to dominating the rapidly growing power… Read MoreContinue Reading
California just made a huge commitment to Local Energy. On May 9, California’s Energy Commission (CEC) unanimously passed a groundbreaking new building standard. Starting in 2020, all new homes in the state must be built with solar panels. Yes, that’s right. In California, residential solar is now required by law. How does the new building standard work?… Read MoreContinue Reading
Flip the switch. Your light turns on. Simple, right? Actually, the light switch is straightforward but the system behind it is anything but simple. When you flip that switch, you are instantaneously connecting your bulb to the most sophisticated machine ever built. Carl Sagan once said, “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science… Read MoreContinue Reading
On February 7, 2018, the U.S. tariffs on imported silicon solar technology went into effect. As we approach the three month anniversary, what, if anything, has happened as a result? A quick history lesson on the US solar tariffs Let’s step back for a brief history lesson. In the spring of 2017, the two largest… Read MoreContinue Reading
Take a moment to imagine a world without electricity. You will quickly realize how dependent our 21st-century lives are on this invisible and silent form of energy. The modern electric grid was built from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s during one of greatest waves of invention in human history. The century-old power industry is… Read MoreContinue Reading
Competition is all about price, features, and customer experience. Right? That’s what business schools have been teaching for decades and it’s largely true. But, if you really want to change an industry, you need to change the rules. You need to create new business models. The untold story behind some of the most disruptive companies… Read MoreContinue Reading
As the cyberattack on the Ukraine grid showed the world, electric utilities are the new target for cyber terrorism. A survey conducted by the website Utility Drive reflects the industry’s rapidly growing concern. In 2015 and 2016, utilities ranked threats from physical and cyberattacks as their sixth largest challenge. In 2017, these threats jumped to number one.… Read MoreContinue Reading