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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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21st Century Energy Solutions

21st Century Energy Solutions


Solar electricity growth, historic data vs predictions (credit: Auke Hoekstra)


Installation of solar electric panels, ie. photovoltacs or PV's, continue to defy projections. Starting 20 years ago, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted the rate of solar PV adoption, in gigawatts of capacity added, would grow at incremental yearly rates. Auke Hoekstra, an engineer and researcher with the Netherlands Technical University of Eindhoven, has shown that the IEA solar forecasts were far too conservative when compared to records of actual installations. He commented on this to Mother Jones:

"In my work with other radical innovations, experts are simply very conservative in their own field. A conservative mindset makes it possible to reject empirical data that suggests radical change."

That has been the similar viewpoint about the adoption of electric vehicles and other solar energy applications. It has debunked by the growth in EV's, solar energy storage batteries, and other engineering developments from commercial manufacturers. The diversity and quality of electric cars  now available to customers worldwide is impressive.

Likewise, solar energy pioneer Tesla has introduced energy-generating roofing tiles that could transform individual home solar energy production. Elon Musk had a vision in college that solar energy, electric cars, and battery storage would be combined to bring on a renewable energy revolution. He has taken the idea of living-off-the-grid seriously ever since. Orders for Tesla’s new roof tiles have begun and the first installations are appearing in California now with a roll-out to the rest of the US soon.


Tesla solar tiled roof (credit: Tesla Inc.)

As Musk told shareholders at a Tesla annual meeting: “This is a fully contained energy solution that we can scale-up for the world".

Visionaries like Auke Hoekstra and Elon Musk continue racing forward with 21st Century with renewable energy solutions. Sadly, others continue galloping backwards with 19th Century 'horse and buggy' energy strategies. You can guess who is going to win this race.


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