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Exponential improvement in efficiency, costs, and speed of solar power installations

What we are seeing are exponential improvements in the efficiency of solar, the cost of solar, and the installation of solar. “Put these numbers together and you find that solar has improved its cost basis by 5,355 times relative to oil since 1970,” Seba said. “Traditional sources of energy can’t compete with this.”.
sun-championHow Solar Power Could Slay the Fossil Fuel Empire by 2030 Motherboard,  BY NAFEEZ AHMED
 December 10, 2014 In just 15 years, the world as we know it will have transformed forever. The ​age of oil, gas, coal and nuclear will be over. A new age of clean power and smarter cars will fundamentally, totally, and permanently disrupt the existing fossil fuel-dependent industrial infrastructure in a way that even the most starry-eyed proponents of ‘green energy’ could never have imagined.

These are not the airy-fairy hopes of a tree-hugging hippy living off the land in an eco-commune. It’s the startling verdict of Tony Seba, a lecturer in business entrepreneurship, disruption and clean energy at Stanford University and a serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur.Seba began his career at Cisco Systems in 1993, where he predicted the internet-fueled mobile revolution at a time when most telecoms experts were warning of the impossibility of building an Internet the size of the US, let alone the world. Now he is predicting the “inevitable” disruption of the fossil fuel infrastructure.

Seba’s thesis, set out in more detail in his new book Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation, is that by 2030 “the industrial age of energy and transportation will be over,” swept away by “exponentially improving technologies such as solar, electric vehicles, and self-driving cars.”

Seba’s forecasts are being taken seriously by some of the world’s most powerful finance, energy, and technology institutions.
Revolutionary economics of renewables

For Seba, there is a simple reason that the economics of solar and wind are superior to the extractive industries. Extraction economics is about decreasing returns. As reserves deplete and production shifts to more expensive unconventional sources, costs of extraction rise. Oil prices may have dropped dramatically due to the OPEC supply glut, but costs of production remain high. Since 2000, the oil industry’s investments have risen threefold by 180 percent, translating into a global oil supply increase of just 14 percent.

In contrast, the clean disruption is about increasing returns and decreasing costs. Seba, who dismisses biomass, biofuels and hydro-electric as uneconomical, points out that with every doubling of solar infrastructure, the production costs of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels fall by 22 percent. “The higher the demand for solar PV, the lower the cost of solar for everyone, everywhere,” said Seba. “All this enables more growth in the solar marketplace, which, because of the solar learning curve, further pushes down costs.”

Globally installed capacity of solar PV has grown from 1.4 GW in the year 2000 to 141 GW at the end of 2013: a compound annual growth rate of 43 percent. In the United States, new solar capacity has grown from 435 megawatts (MW) in 2009 to 4,751 MW in just four years: an even higher rate of 82 percent.

Meanwhile, solar panel costs are now 154 times cheaper than they were in 1970, dropping from $100 per watt to 65 cents per watt. What we are seeing are exponential improvements in the efficiency of solar, the cost of solar, and the installation of solar. “Put these numbers together and you find that solar has improved its cost basis by 5,355 times relative to oil since 1970,” Seba said. “Traditional sources of energy can’t compete with this.”………….http://motherboard.vice.com/read/how-solar-power-could-slay-the-fossil-fuel-empire-by-2030

December 31, 2014 - Posted by | general

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