In Solar Revolution: The Economic Transformation of the Global Energy Industry, Travis Bradford writes about how solar energy is cost-effective now. I watched a presentation he gave at Microsoft. He has the street cred to pull this off since he is not a hemp wearing hippie, but rather a former private equity and hedge fund executive. He understands numbers. He can analyze and interpret them.
One of the fascinating points that shows that the devil is indeed in the details is that peak energy use is during the day. And since I wrote in an earlier post about how businesses use more energy than homes, it makes sense then that more energy is consumed during the day when most of us are at work. Peak energy costs more to produce because less efficient generators are put in place to meet peak needs. Some business customers are charged at the higher rate during peak times. Here is the a-ha! realization that is so obvious: Solar works during the day. Compared to peak rates, solar is cost-effective. And since the least efficient generators probably also pollute the most, there is a double gain.
Mr. Bradford also discusses the numbers behind the cost-effectiveness of solar. He shows (and I am not going to try and replicate his financial reasoning) that most current analysis on solar energy’s cost effectiveness is not accurate. He shows the flaws in current thinking which if it gets enough exposure could increase the demand for solar.
Since this was a Microsoft talk, I had to watch it using Internet Explorer, but the good news was that the presentation had a talk faster mode which made it take significantly less time. It also showed the presentation slides and Mr. Bradford talking side by side. I like that a lot better than standard webinars.