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PayPal Founder Predicts: Solar Will Kick Coal's Ass

Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal and cheapest viagra uk chairman of electric car company Tesla, recently said that he believed most of the world's power would come from solar by 2040. That seems remarkably optimistic to buy viagra online cheap me.

At the Future in Review Conference, Musk said that in 30 years, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic power will, combined, produce more electricity than any other source. That title is currently held (and held firmly) by coal. Displacing the discount site viagra coal industry with renewables would require massive capital investments and innovations, particularly in power storage.

I have to say, my mind doesn't have to stretch too far to see how it would be possible. But a few things need to happen first. Solar needs to get cheaper, and photovoltaics have to stop relying on raw materials (indium / monosilicon) that are difficult to acquire. And then we need to figure out how to store the power so we can use it at night. This could be through a combination of buy viagra on line utility-scale power storage and distributed power storage through home fuel-cell and hydrogen creation systems.

Musk, as the chairman of Solar City, a company that installs panels on houses, sometimes with no down payment at all, obviously believe in the distributed power model. The goal of Solar City is to we use it generic viagra cheap have people pay, not for the $30,000 panels on their roof, but for the 30 years of electricity those panels will generate. Already Solar City is projecting $80 M in revenue for this year.

The final piece of the puzzle in getting to solar supremacy came out in Musk's speech as well. Very simply, "There should be a carbon tax."

It's unclear that, without one, whether solar will ever be able to do any more than nip at the heels of big daddy coal.

Via Earth2Tech

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Comments (18)Add Comment
written by Bill W, May 28, 2008
This is a terribly ignorant thing to say.

The problem with the solar industry right now is that there are shortages of silicon (already at todays levels). Solar is we recommend viagra free pills also the tramadol overnight delivery most expensive common renewable. Wind is the cheapest and should be pursued most aggressively.
written by Dan, May 28, 2008
Nothing wrong with aiming high, hopefully it will come true.

Using compressors to store excess energy in the form of compressed air during the day and power generators at night may help with night time power needs. I think there is probably better ways to store power for the night though.
Solar has the ability to make in roads i
written by David W. Keith, May 28, 2008
My first thought was that he was being overly optimistic, then I remembered that Apple recently patented a technology that could be used for solar iPods As I think about where solar is going it is not big solar farms for a standard electrical grid. It is on my neighbors garage, and on my iPod. I don't even need to actually power a device with solar to get the benefits. If I get 10% more battery life out of a laptop for only 10% more upfront I will go for it. Solar panels are lighter than batteries and 5 mg viagra the only other ways to get more time out of our portable devices is a larger battery or more efficient chipsets (Which I see as complementary.) If 100% of portable devices had embedded solar panels and 20% of homes had solar panels and LED lights became what CFL's are today... I think he is right on target.
written by Bob Wallace, May 28, 2008
"The problem with the solar industry right now is that there are shortages of silicon (already at todays levels)."

Actually not. New silicon plants have come on line in the last few months.

"Solar is also the most expensive common renewable. Wind is the cheapest and should be pursued most aggressively."

The price of solar is falling rapidly.

IMHO we should be aggressively pursuing a variety of renewables including not only wind and solar but also wave, tidal, geothermal, and biogas/mass.

The more we diversify and distribute our energy sources the less storage and transmission we will have to build. And the cheap canadian cialis quicker we will be able to shut down dirty coal.
cap and trade
written by Enrique, May 28, 2008
Cap and trade will help more to bring innovation to the market.
Solar is the future..
written by Kobayashi, May 28, 2008
Hi Bill, I totally do not agree with you. Solar photovoltaics are indeed expensive and are far from being efficient, but solar heat is cialis overnight allready a good alternative to wind energy and the prices of concentrated solar heat are decresing rapidly. Check for a nice view of the future of solar energy!
written by Mitchell Sink, May 28, 2008
Solar needs to get cheaper...

And then we need to figure out how to store the power so we can use it at night.


All that needs to be done to reduce the price of Solar Thermal is to start rolling it out. With economies of scale and incremental improvements the price can easily be competitive with Coal (when you include the cost of best price generic propecia the Coal).

Storing for nightime use is not a problem with Solar Thermal (its easy to store heat). This was first done in the 70's or 80's in the Mohave. The issue is storage for cloudy days. Cloudy days (and nightime) is when there is more Wind Energy so an affordable integrated wind and Solar Thermal grid is feasible.

Best Wishes,

written by Tony, May 29, 2008
"The price of solar is falling rapidly."

Perhaps production costs, but certainly not costs to actually get a system installed. If anything our cost has gone up - what cost us about $7/W of generating capacity in 2005 is now about $8.50/W, and thats if we can get anyone to work with us on our relatively small projects.
predicting unaffordability of PV is not
written by Dennis Allard, May 29, 2008
Belief about the cost of PV ten years
out is not rational. Obviously it will
be much less costly. We do not know how
much less and assumptions it will not be
affordable are just guesses.

written by Ge64, May 29, 2008
Instead of storing the energy for use at night (which is inefficient), how about just putting part of your power stations on the click now best viagra prices other side of the earth? Wouldn't it be great if all countries could make one bittorrent-like net of solar power stations.

Yeah, never mind
written by Matt, May 29, 2008
PV is old history, nano-tech solar cells will kick whatever silicon-based 80's technology you think the future is cialis online order going to be built on.

check out and learn what's coming soon : )
written by Ian Woollard, May 29, 2008
The amount of PV being installed is climbing. Due to economies of scale that brings down the cost. As the cost comes down, that makes it more desirable to install PV.

Plus, PV is actually much more efficient than, say, biofuels. Biofuels are about 1% efficient of we recommend viagra from canadian pharmacy sunlight, whereas PVs are already many times that, so you need much less land for it; and you can put PVs on roofs and so forth, whereas crops on roofs is harder.

A lot of energy is used industrially during the day anyway so the day/night/cloudy issue isn't nearly as bad (you can use fossil fuels, wind or whatever).
Power from garbage
written by Josh P, May 29, 2008
We need to invest in Plasma Converters so that we kill two birds with one Plasma Converter! We will solve the problem of running out of landfill space and solve our energy needs problem.
written by Brian, May 29, 2008
Just think about how far solar has come since its inception and even just since its rise in popularity. Now put that in a Moore's law curve and look at where we will be in 30 years.
written by Ken Roberts, May 29, 2008
@Ge64, as you may have guessed, power is lost through transmission lines. The longer the distance, the greater the loss. Sending power across the viagra sale globe would result in an incredible amount of power loss.

But anyway, this is a non-issue. Just use solar power during the day and wind/nuclear/tidal/whatever at night. You don't need to store the electricity.
How to store solar heat
written by jd anthnoy, May 29, 2008
How to store solar heat on a large scale

It's being done now.
is replying fixed?
written by CTYankee, May 31, 2008
test post, sorry!
written by dave, July 06, 2008
Might as well kill a whole bunch of birds with as few stones as possible...

1. Fischer-Tropsch process: Convert coal into jet fuel, diesel, and gasoline. Alternative energy sources are just not feasible for over 1/2 of the miles US drivers put in. Sure, 78% of drivers put in less than 40 miles a day commuting and viagra uk running errands, but the 22% of us who do drive more (I serve a 5 county area - a typical trip for me is between 200 and 300 miles) put in about 50% of the miles driven. A hybrid is great in the city, but on order tramadol without perscrition the highway, they are no more efficient than vehicles of comparable size and weight.

The Fischer-Tropsch process is feasible at about $4 per gallon, and the USAF is in the process of certifying ALL of its aircraft to burn fuel produced by the process. This process will also raise the demand for coal, which will raise its price and effectively lowering the price for alternative energy systems. The net result will be more solar, wind, and tidal systems, and fewer coal burning plants.

2. As solar and wind power comes on line, the demand for electrical storage will increase - alternative residential power systems rely extensively on batteries. Because of the increased demand, R D dollars will be pumped into battery manufacturers, advancing the state of the technology. These improved systems will make electrical cars not only feasible, but economical.

The key to online cialis sales solar is not decreasing the cost - the key to solar is decreasing the cost relative to coal. Increasing the viagra dosage price of coal is FAR easier than decreasing the price of solar.

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