Monday, September 30, 2013

The 10 Stealth Economic Trends That Rule the World Today

The 10 Stealth Economic Trends That Rule the World Today, article.

Since Jimmy Carter was sworn in as president, the price of solar cells has fallen over 99 percent. No, that’s not a typo. And the exponential cost-drop shows no sign of slowing down, with dozens of new technologies in the pipeline. Installation and land costs are falling too. What this means is that in sunny states like Arizona, solar can already compete with fossil fuel electricity even with zero government subsidies. In fact, rooftop solar panels are becoming so popular that utility companies are trying to tax solar power in order to pay for grid maintenance!

Wow. That one could really overturn some power balances.


BaronessBlack said...

Wow! Interesting read!
Thanks, Eolake!
Any thoughts on the US government shutdown?

Ken said...

There is a problem with the way we charge for electricity, which is to have most of the charges based on usage, when in fact about 2/3 of the costs are related to the fixed cost of generators and transmission. Now if I replace most of my usage with solar then all those fixed costs have to remain because at times I will not have solar, well every night in fact, and I will just expect that I can switch on for a few hours.

As the utility is selling less electricity but with not an equivalent reduction in prices, they have to increase prices. They can either price it fairly by incorporating a fixed fee covering availability of power, or increase the price per unit. This will eventually throw the costs onto whoever can't use solar. Making overgenerous payments for feed in to the system just makes things worse.

One point as well is that the microsolar (ie house based) is still the most expensive form of energy. Note how most of these stories are being pushed by people who make solar systems.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

BB, though I fail sometimes, I try not to comment too much on politics, because I can't claim to understand it. For one thing, it's very complex, for another, it is "a conflict of interests masquerading as a conflict of principles" as somebody said. (He may have said it about War. Same thing.)
In other words, it's not about What Is Right, it's about who gets their way.
Almost nobody if anybody can see the greater good, and if they could, then they don't have a chance in the great sea of fighting self-interest groups.

Kelly Trimble said...

I hate to sound too much like the Republican I am, but are they seriously going to tax us on the sunlight that falls on the roof of our house???

Also, to Baroness Black ... Shutdown? I thought I heard something about a shutdown of some sort on the radio a while ago that had everybody's panties in a twist, but I was too busy WORKING so I can PAY TAXES to notice.

(how's that for an insight)

Anonymous said...

One of the problems with the political aspect is that it has made people quite happy to ignore any of the relevant aspects. Rather than having policies based on an analysis of the costs and corresponding reductions in emissions we have policies based on what the electorate thinks. Anyone who criticises an alternative energy policy is seen to be part of some right-wing conspiracy. As a result we have policies that produce alternative energy at huge cost subsidised by governments, which are now running out of money, and policies that encourage manufacturers to move overseas,to produce exactly the same emissions that they were making before.