Thursday, July 12, 2007

What Solar Power Needs Now (Because We Need Solar Power Now!)

GreenerBuildings has posted a short article by distinguised UC Berkeley Professor, Daniel Kammen, titled, What Solar Power Needs Now.

It discusses the types of government programs that have helped accelerate the development and installation of solar technologies in places from Germany to Japan to to Kenya to California.

Kammen suggests that the world follow the lead, especially, of Japan:

A tremendously compelling that of the Sunshine solar energy program in Japan. Over the course of almost two decades, starting in the late 1980s, Japan developed and then implemented a remarkably coordinated, well-designed solar development and dissemination effort.

The Sunshine program is not just pretty on paper, it really worked. During the program annual PV installations grew to over 300 MW of solar/year, and the rate of cost decreases grew to almost 10 percent year.

With intelligence websites such as Debka warning of yet another imminent Middle East war, which could send energy prices through the roof, the types of programs described in this article need to be implemented at a wide scale around the world with the greatest of urgency. They will help fight climate change, reduce the ecological, health and economic impacts of fossil fuel-derived pollution, and to boost our energy and economic security in the face of increasingly unstable fossil fuel supplies and prices.

The good news is that the proliferation of such programs will be coupled with a current rapidly advancing state of solar technologies - both in terms of solar panel power generation and in terms of battery storage. For example, have a look at this article and this one - it's some hopeful stuff!

Once again, the solutions are there - or very much on the way. Hopefully it doesn't take a disastrous explosion in Middle East hostilities to motivate the actual policy actions Professor Kammen calls for.

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