My TED talk on accelerating the shift to clean energy

Electricity powers nearly every aspect of our modern, convenient lives. It’s so pervasive and easy that most of us take it for granted. But just behind the common electric outlet lies a system that is expensive, insecure, and, worst of all, dangerously dirty – the grid. For example, clean energy from the sun and wind… Read More

The U.S. government is really bad at predicting the growth in solar

It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future. — Yogi Berra At last week’s Intersolar conference in San Francisco, keynote speaker Tony Seba made a compelling case for near-term disruptions in energy and transportation. In particular, his slide on solar projections really caught my attention. It turns out that government solar projections have consistently… Read More

Hawaii is a postcard from our electric future (Part 2)

Island power grids are a microcosm of the vastly larger grids that criss-cross the planet. In Part 1 of this series, we looked at how small islands are pioneering the path to clean energy. They are disproving conventional wisdom by showing that intermittent power from the sun and wind can successfully provide affordable and reliable… Read More

1,000 solar scientists got together this week – here’s what they’re talking about

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 More

Islands: fruity drinks, sandy beaches, and the future of the electric grid (Part 1)

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 More

How do you know if a microgrid makes sense for you?

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 More