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Solar Electric Power to the People

by gmoke Fri Jul 29th, 2016 at 03:20:13 AM EST

I like direct action, positive protest that has immediate, practical, social and economic use.

That's why I say, Solar IS Civil Defense - light, phone, battery can be supplied by a few square inches of solar electric panel.  The solar bike lights on my backpack over the last decade have proven the concept to my satisfaction (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/6/30/352476/-).

Light, phone, battery are also entry level electricity for the 1.4 billion or so of us around the world who don't yet have access to reliable electric power.  Emergency preparedness at home, entry level solar power to the people who've never had it is essentially the same thing.

Bare minimum solar electricity for all, as long as the sun shines and the batteries hold out, is technically and practically feasible now.

It is rapidly becoming affordable too.  

I know of one company that is reaching the price point of $1 per unit production costs for solar rechargeable lights (http://www.thriveenergy.co.in) and believe that there are others that are doing the same or better.  That's $1.4 in production costs (or less, given economies of scale) to supply everyone among the presently powerless or $200 million if we start with one solar lighting system per family at a global average of 7 people per family.

How much more for delivery and setting up the infrastructure?  The Dominican Light Project (http://www.esencialessrl.com) is beginning to provide solar lights for every family in the Dominican Republic at a proposed cost of $5 each to the customer's door.  They raised some of their money through crowdfunding (https:/www.indiegogo.com/projects/dominican-light-project-by-esenciales-j-s-srl--2#)

Bare minimum solar electricity for all, as long as the sun shines and the batteries hold out, is not only technically feasible but also affordable and practical now.

in 2015, the world's military forces spent $1,676.0 billion or $4.59 billion per day
Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

2016 USA Presidential election spending to July 22, 2016:
Amount raised by candidates:  $904 million
Amount raised by Super PACS supporting them:  $492
Source:  http://www.opensecrets.org/pres16/

Just for reference.

Conceivably, there could be an ad hoc popular movement for crowd funding the end of electrical energy poverty within the next 3 to 5 years.  A day of what we spend on warfare or a US Presidential campaign could give everybody who needed a light, light.  

This is solar electric power to the people.

Now, add a bicycle or a hand-crank and you have two reliable sources of electricity day or night, by sunlight or muscle power.  
See http://solarray.blogspot.com/2004/12/three-solar-projects.html

Here are a few solar lighting buy one, give one programs:
One Million Lights


Buy One Give One for Malawi

LuminAID Portable Solar-Powered Inflatable Light

10 Inspiring "Buy One Give One" Projects - Mashable

More solar electric power to the people?
. yes 100%
. no 0%
. not yes 0%
. not no 0%
. neither yes nor no 0%
. both yes and no 0%
. don't understand the question? 0%
. none of the above 0%

Votes: 5
Results | Other Polls
It is important to understand the relatively low costs of making great improvements in the lives of so many. The Gates Foundation could do $200 million easily over four years at $50 million/year. Give the entire world light at night!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jul 29th, 2016 at 03:48:20 PM EST
And the prices of solar rechargeable lights are going to keep going down for the next decade or two.

We don't need the Gates Foundation.  We can do it ourselves, one light at a time.  I've given you the URLs of organizations that provide buy one, give one deals.  Anyone can start right now.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Fri Jul 29th, 2016 at 10:01:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
just last week I was looking at some "defense" spending numbers. It is crazy how many problems we could solve if we diverted money from war to an equitable energy world and get rid of the need for fossil fuels which themselves are a cause of much of this defense spending...
by crankykarsten (cranky (where?) gmx dot organisation) on Wed Aug 3rd, 2016 at 01:06:14 PM EST
Haven't seen too many people figuring out what the economic results of NOT having to pay for fossil fuels are when an economy goes renewable.  There is probably some work on this in Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands but I haven't seen it.

The German chemical companies, I have on good authority, are salivating at the idea of the variable super-abundance of renewable electricity at low prices to power the conversion of simple chemical feedstocks to liquid fuels.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Wed Aug 3rd, 2016 at 05:59:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bad choice of examples. If you want to look at extant examples of low-cost renewable electricity, the nations to look to at are Iceland, New Zeeland and Norway.

Add in France and Sweden for nuke/renewable mixes. Denmark and Germany are still mostly coal, and also very expensive electricity - if you believe that renewable will bring about cheap power then their present situation is totally wrong for drawing inferences from.

Iceland is interesting - a lot of aluminum production, and a lot of datacenters.

by Thomas on Fri Aug 5th, 2016 at 09:32:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Iceland, Norway, and New Zealand have already transitioned to renewable sources.  I have some questions about the monopolization of energy by the aluminum industry in Iceland but you're correct, they make good examples of what a renewably powered economic system would look like.

However, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands must certainly have scenarios to forecast the economic implications of what an economy that no longer has to pay for fuel will look like in their own countries.  Their examples will be more useful for the vast majority of nations that don't have the geothermal or hydro resources Iceland, Norway, and New Zealand have.

Costa Rica is another nation which is approaching majority renewable (hydroelectricity which has its own problems there) power system and is planning to be a carbon neutral nation within less than a decade.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Fri Aug 5th, 2016 at 09:36:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
as gmoke says, those countries are blessed by natural renewable resources (hydro, geothermal) so that makes it "too easy" to make renewables look economic (to be clear, I am a full supporter of 100% renewable asap using major infrastructure funding in scale to a war time effort RIGHT NOW, so not disagreeing with you but stating that this might be a weak argument that can be picked apart easily in a discussion)

However, the high electricity price reminds me of a discussion I had with some business partners last week. If we can produced electricity using a combined cycle power plant at let's say EUR 40/MWh or using land-based wind using EUR 60/MWh, then, from a purely national economic perspective, wind might be "cheaper" if 30 of the EUR for the gas fired power plant is money that leaves the nation to buy fossil fuels from outside (and in many cases, from countries that are not very nice).

And looking at the production cost of wind and increasingly solar even "sunny" places as Germany, we are getting very close to those numbers (and are even there at some sites).

Like I said we need a wartime-like effort to invest in renewable infrastructure. What Germany did with the very high PV subsidies a few years back has now enabled solar PV growth of unimaginable size and breadth all over the world. I believe this should next be done with storage, subsidize power to gas or whatever other technologies with a similar framework and lay the foundation now for the energy supply technology and infrastructure of the future.

by crankykarsten (cranky (where?) gmx dot organisation) on Tue Aug 9th, 2016 at 11:21:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am beginning to hear this from policy people now.  Germany's investment in solar primed the pump for the world.  Initially, it soaked up all the solar supply but eventually it has lowered costs and raised production for all of us.  Thanks Germany.

PS:  Energy storage is coming on like gangbusters as well.  Ran into DOE Secretary Moniz on a Cambridge street one Saturday about 18 months ago and he was enthused about the "300% growth" in energy storage coming up in the next year (2016).  (Since I live halfway between Harvard and MIT and have been monitoring energy events there for decades, Sec Moniz and I know each other.  I am as astonished at that connection as anyone else.)

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Tue Aug 9th, 2016 at 05:51:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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