Solar power revolution – film

Solar Power Revolution – Here Comes The Sun – Documentary

We recommend every one should watch this uplifting video:

But before you do can you note two things:

Some aspects of it are out of date. It talks of rising fossil fuel prices (led by oil); solar panel prices at $3 per Watt (or £2,200 per kW) and the then contemporary plan to link up Concentrated Solar Plant production in North Africa to Europe via a dedicated big sub-sea interconnection link from N.Africa to Italy. We know things are very different today. Oil prices are less than half, but panel prices are also much lower (£1000/kW) and the prospects for (the very expensive) potential CSP plant in N. Africa to be built and export power to Europe have long been shredded. It might be possible to focus several thousand square kilometres to produce solar power in the Sahara to meet world needs but the transmission costs and storage requirements would be enormous.

It would be possible to engage in a long debate about whether oil prices were lowered in order to see off major renewable developments (some sort of monopoly conspiracy theory) but the more pragmatic rationale would point a finger at increased supply of gas and oil in the US associated with their frakking revolution leading to a dramatic change in the global demand supply balance; hence global energy prices falling. It would be good to see a more up to date commentary which took these changes into account.

However action now means going with the best we have now. Waiting for the future to be better delays the actions that can help to make the future better! So here are a few thoughts which reinforce points made in the documentary:
  • the production costs of thermal/fossil fuel production and the associated environmental remediation costs are improperly reflected in the global wholesale supply costs.
  • the climate change(global warming) costs go beyond this. A 10 billion world population can only co-exist with a world which produces reducing volumes of greenhouse gases,
  • decentralisation of energy production whilst remaining connected to a local/regional/national/international grid is good for energy security for all.
  • panel prices and associated solar technologies are continuing to get cheaper and innovation on applications is also expanding.

Mark Hughes

Director and Treasurer of SE24

Sun documentary 1038