Democratizing energy

For all those who hated the advent of horseless buggies, cell phones, computers, the internet et al…don’t read this one!   See:  Battery hackers are building the future in the garage…cannibalizing a Tesla to go off the grid.  The primary motivation here is not to ‘save the world’, but rather for individuals to save cash flow and become self-sustaining:

In a cluttered four-car garage in suburban Deptford, New Jersey, Hughes spent the better part of last year hacking a 1,400-pound battery recovered from a wrecked Tesla Model S and reworking it into a stacked array that can store energy from his solar-power system. His battery tinkering resolves the issue of intermittency since his green power will be available whenever he needs it, night or day, rain or shine…

Electricity markets will be turned upside down within the next 10-20 years, driven by solar and batteries,” says an August 2014 report from investment bank UBS. So might the auto industry and the oil companies….

The fossil-fuel grid has been a marvel but its time has come and technologically savvy people — rapidly becoming the majority of us — are seeking to connect to the new thing. “I’m not going to drill for oil and refine gasoline in my basement,” says Hughes, “but I can hook up solar panels and run my car.”

Solar power growth is on fire. 2014 was the biggest year for solar power ever:

“…solar power is blowing up in the United States: Adding tons of jobs, driving progressive policies, and attracting millions of dollars in investment from major corporations. It’s not slowing down anytime soon: New data from market analysis firm GTM Research finds that 2014 was solar’s biggest year ever, with 30 percent more photovoltaic installations installed than in 2013.”

While to date, solar accounts for a small share of North American electricity generation, it is rapidly expanding and, as shown below, last year added nearly as many new megawatts to the grid as natural gas.  This is a trend that is here to stay.  Power to the people. An idea whose time has come.


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