HTT: How To Solar

During my traditional breakfast with the BBC, two eggs, a cup of coffee, my iPad, and my thumb, I came across this headline:

"Moon shot" call for clean energy"

My first thought was: What exactly is a Moon Shot? followed by my second thought which was: OMG someone's gonna try and put solar cells on the moon.

I hadn't read the article yet and my mind was already racing to understand why some one would want to put solar cells on the moon. Especially when the state of Nevada is so much closer.

Reading further . . . as one should do when posed with such a question . . . I got a better gist of what was being said. Apparently, a group of scientists and deep thinkers out in EuropeLand have decided that the best way to promote and profligate renewable energy his to have a dramatic world-wide call for solar and wind power, similar to John F. Kennedy's call to "put a man on the moon"

As far as I know, no European has reached the Sea of Tranquility, and I'm pretty sure that's an exclusive claim for those who bleed read white and blue. If fact . . . we don't even have that technology anymore. The blue-prints for the Saturn rockets were destroyed when NASA was cleaning out it's garage to make room for the Space Shuttle Program.

No lie.

Anyway, the "Moon Shot" call has it's own name: Global Apollo.

Apollo, for those of you who don't know, is the Greek God of Art and Knowledge and well . . . Plague.

In fact, in order to more successfully incorporate the hedonistic hordes, the Christian Church adopted images of Apollo (The sun of Zeus) and rechristened them as images of Jesus (The son of God).

This is why you've grown up thinking Jesus was a blond haired, blue eyed, white man.

No lie.

Now . . . for those of you who know me as a person . . . you will not be shocked to find out that I am a starch proponent of Solar Energy. I love the stuff.  Can't get enough of it. Every time I see a solar array (even the ugly ones) I get filled with personal glee.

If Greenpeace was standing outside of my Trader Joes trying to get me to sign a petition to promote Solar Energy, not only would I stop and talk, but I might even buy those poor starving kids some pre-packed sushi and toss in some extra packets of wasabi.

Unfortunately for Greenpeace . . . pandas are neither tasty . . . nor can they run my air conditioner in July.

My solar panels can do that.

And it's flat out amaze balls.

The 100 square feet of photovoltaic cells nestled cleanly among my concrete roof tiles give me virtually 3/4's of my energy for free.


No lie.

I will also readily admit that I lucked out. When purchasing a home my wife and I won a lottery for new homes in a solar development. So I never really had to put my money where my mouth is.

The cost of adding a solar array to an existing home is in the neighborhood of $20,000. (Not including all the cool tax ride offs) and even though it would cut a homeowner's energy bill by a sizable portion, it won't quite pay for itself for about ten years.

However . . . the cost of incorporating the exact same array in a newly built structure (home/office/Nordstrom Rack) is less than $5,000.

How can that be?

Well, at that point, all you're paying for is the price of the components (the cells and the converter) and you can even subtract the cost of the roofing tiles that the cells are replacing. Nifty Huh?

Now . . . when you add that $5,000 to the residential or commercial mortgage, plus the tax ride-off . . . you're basically printing money on day one.

Day One.

So if you follow the math . . . and if you can't, go back and read again . . . to update the existing infrastructure is more than four times the cost of building it from the start. But to build new, virtually free, if not cost cutting.

And . . . what is the only thing that holds back innovation?


Reading the "Moon Shot" article it was clear that the group was concerned about cost. How do we reduce the cost of renewable energy to compete with oil and coal?

The answer will not be found at the G8 summit, like they're hoping.

C'mon, Europeans, you're smarter than that.

There are too main problems with the component cost of solar energy. There isn't enough demand, so they are not being mass produced in a way that would lower costs, and two, there's too much cloud cover in London for customers to get the benefit that I do out here in sunny sunny California.

If you can get high demand, supply will catch up, which will reduce cost, and with reduced cost, even greater demand.

But how do you get that initial high demand?

It's simple . . . but you have to swallow some of your fear of big government and heavy handed regulation.

Basically . . . we need to create legislation that requires solar panels for all new buildings out here in the sunny wild west.

You get the state legislatures of California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, and yes . . . even Texas, to adopt a solar policy, you will have just created a market for 1.5 million customers per year.

(Not to mention the job creation for a growing industry, which will in turn create higher demand for single family housing . . . etc, etc.)

Again, the Libertarian in me cringes at the thought, so I feel you. But we already regulate the hell out of building permits and inspections, the cost to the consumer will be negative (they'll literally be saving money on day one, remember) and the only really big group that will suffer are the executives of PG&E.

Unless they catch wind of the whole scheme and use their resources to become a leader in manufacturing the solar equipment.

Someone might want to send them a letter.

There is literally not a single loser in the whole ecosystem.

Except maybe the pandas.

Sorry pandas.

You shoulda been tastier.

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