Genesis Morocco: Moore Vs Metcalf

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Genesis Morocco

Project Genesis is a strategic sustainable development framework for Morocco to translate from being a net importer of energy and a country facing water shortage issues, into the number one producer both of clean renewable energy and water in the region.

Monday, November 28, 2011    <<Home

Moore Vs Metcalf

    Robert Metcalfe, or Bob for the select few.

Personal Notes : Here is an interesting post by fellow blogger Tyler Cowen from Marginal Revolutions, posted as is, my answer to his post follows.

What is the future of solar power?
by Tyler Cowen on November 7, 2011

If we believe Moore’s Law in solar, then the safe bet in terms of behavioural reactions is not to react. Within a decade or two, energy will be socially as cheap as it is privately as cheap now. That means that changing habits for environmental austerity is not the way to go.

I would make a simpler but less optimistic point.  If a solar breakthrough is now likely, in which market prices do we see it reflected?  It is true that fossil fuel prices took a steep tumble in the last few months, but I’ve never heard anyone suggest that price plunge had to do with a forthcoming solar revolution.  It seems cyclical in nature, or perhaps related to the spreading news of further fossil fuel discoveries, including natural gas.  For better or worse, those shale oil and natural gas discoveries — which by the way will create lots of jobs — will further raise the bar against solar power, and it’s not just the Republicans who will promote them.

Alternatively, is there a bubble in the stock prices of solar power specialists?  What’s the total market cap of companies selling solar panels?  Or is there a bubble in the share prices of companies which supply cheap and reliable power storage?  The evidence on these points seems weak to say the least.  Keep in mind that other countries can make the switch even if you think political conspiracy will prevent it here.  And solar panels can be cheap in the sense that my bicycle is cheap, the real question is whether we see industry-wide price changes as would befit a systematic solar energy revolution.

Is there any reason, based in industry-wide market prices, to be optimistic about the near-term or even medium-term future of solar power?  I don’t see it.

Moore Vs Metcalf 

Ok Tyler, here's the skinny, you chose to base your assumption on Moore's law, however I choose to base mine on Metcalfe's for the following reasons.

Solar energy comes in two shapes, distributed, panels you or I can install at home or at our businesses and central, large solar plants. In both cases any solar energy gathering device's full potential is to be connected to the grid. And that is where Metcalfe's law applies for solar pretty much as it did for the internet. The more devices are plugged to the grid the greater its worth and the higher its efficiency and resiliency.

I firmly believe that in the foreseeable future, solar energy, precisely photovoltaics will reach mass market, be it thin film or cheaper solar cells. You might have heard of the ongoing trade war between the U.S and China in that regard. And when that happens, solar energy already abundant in its raw form will become cheap. Cheap is actually an understatement if you consider that every hour, the sun radiates more energy onto the earth than the entire human population uses in one whole year, the actual word is free.

I have sometimes ventured in this blog into exploring our next economical model, that I call the free energy ecosystem, where energy will cease to be a luxury for some like here in Africa and become a commodity so mainstream, easy to gather and abundant that it will cease having an actual market value other then for distributors. 

Just one other thought, there are here in Morocco people living in remote rural areas, not connected to the grid. They never paid an electricity bill in their life, they used to charge battery packs. 

Now the national office is going to equip 25 000 such households with photovoltaics systems coupled to batteries in partnership with Tenesol, a french photovoltaics concern. They will pay for the equipment which they will own when the leasing is over. 

These people by the looks of it now, will never pay an electricity bill in their lives and that's one of the aspects of the free energy ecosystem. 

So if you ask me about the future of solar power, Its quite bright actually. is there a bubble ? Yes, but there is nothing wrong with a bubble, that is how people make money. 

Free energy thanks to the sun, not a matter of if but of when. 

Genesis Morocco :

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