LMTF Podcast Episode 12: Solar Energy

Solar panels have increased in efficiency to the point that they’re now cost-competitive with fossil fuels. How will the rise of photovoltaics change power production and the world’s economy? Recorded August 13, 2017.


solar panels

energy to power



downsides to photovoltaics?

will this have implications

energy political economy?

destabilize (or stabilize?) arab countries


high voltage direct current for long range transmission?

solar energy + batteries


how will the rise of photovoltaics change power production?

batteries used?

240,000 GWh

250 GWh

50 GWh 2010

~0 Gwh 2000

who produces solar panels?

that will be the haves?






food production, vertical farms, water and energy, potassium

rare earth minerals (cannot be an energy problem)

nuclear power?



give them a loan


Elevator Pitches

Michael Currie Carbon offset Solar Power

Daniel Valenzuela Social charity to pay marginal countries to get solar

Tobias Wagner AirBnB for Solar Power exchange

Parnian Barekatain Flying car / drones charge from solar panels make energy for their own turbines –> for power delivery

@Anitha Vadavatha @Parnian Barekatain @Daniel Valenzuela and Tobias thank you for the great talks about Solar Energy!  And congratulations to @Parnian Barekatain for her blockbuster business idea of drones delivering batteries that have been charged by solar panels from a central location.

Episode Machine Transcript (unedited and uncorrected)

If you know you are on the right track if you have this knowledge nobody can turn you off no matter what they say.

Let’s make the future.

The future discussion.

Technology and their implications in society. Coming to you from all over the world featuring the voices of Michael. Danby.

With panelists.

Also featuring.

Music and Christian Pelton. Welcome to let’s make the future let’s introduce ourselves Hi I’m Daniel mathematician and social impact and those yes I’m based in Munich and I have to be on the show I’m Michael Curry an independent software developer and entrepreneur from Canada currently living in Thailand I’m Toby on mobility entrepreneur based in Munich co-founder of charge X. and the mobility is not a lead to be on the show today we’re going to have which. We are this episode discussion topic solar energy.

Solar energy has been experiencing an exponential rate of improvement in the last decades but in particular in the last decade there has not only been an exponential a continuation of an exponential trend in efficiency of solar panels to the point where they are now cost competitive with fossil fuel power and fossil fuel energy sources at least in countries that experienced the most solar incidents or the most sunlight but not only that but the worldwide growth voltaic deployment has also been an exponential curve. Or at least in the last decade or so during this period of time photovoltaic also in a solar P.V. has evolved from a nice market of small scale applications to a mainstream electricity source I’m quoting from wikipedia here when solar P.V. systems were first recognized as a promising or Noble Energy Technology programs such as feed in tariffs these are the subsidies we often hear about these were implemented by a number of governments in order to provide economic incentives for investments for several years growth was mainly driven by Japan and pioneering European countries obviously Germany being a big one for those following this trend as a consequence cost of solar declined significantly due to experience curve effects like improvements in technology and economies of scale but the countries that pioneered the use of photovoltaics were not necessarily the places that had the most solar energy incidents on the ground was a lot of clouds and they’re also at higher latitudes that don’t have the same solar energy per square meter of ground even when there are no clouds and so now what we’re seeing is the adoption of these technologies in countries where it makes a lot more sense to have solar installations and now we’re seeing installations in California in the Middle East for example in Dubai that have costs that are shockingly low in the sense that they are actually lower than fossil fuel installations that would be traditionally used for large scale power generation so what we’re seeing is finally solar power is ready for the mainstream and it’s not just ready but it’s being implemented and I think it’s worth the let’s make the future podcast here take an episode and discuss what the implications of this family of technologies will be and what the implications will be for society so maybe I should ask a question and maybe I should ask Does anyone see any downsides to the use of photovoltaics I really like that we. Have finally a renewal energy that is basically scalable and also old technology wise ready at the moment so it’s very like critical time for it right now but this obvious downsides in the ability if you look at like when can we produce energy from sunlight which is naturally bounded by basically the hours of sunlight during the day meaning also dependent on the Earth’s position to the sun but also basically on the weather so I guess we can say for sure but maybe it’s also an interesting question how much can we basically get out of sunlight in terms of the market size of energy and how much do we need to rely on other energy so I guess that’s maybe a downside that is not always available Yeah one may issue that you already described is that the production of solar energy especially from the morning until the evening during the day doesn’t always match with the consumption of this energy so especially here in Germany we have this problem that the main consumption of households in the evening and then the sun isn’t shining so we have this curve of solar energy production then we have another curve of the personal consumption and here we have one big issue because when the peak of the production is very high or if we have the peak then the energy is unable to be used so one may issue that is related to the solar power industry is of course storage so in the future better we said an energy storage for Dems produced energy as one of the biggest issue we have to focus on the US I suppose the mathematics here are pretty simple we need to account for the cost of batteries and include that when we think about how solar energy Killy be produced at certain times of the day and then maybe also attach to that some kind of probability distribution associated with the chance that we have so little incidence of sunlight that the batteries actually run out and so there’s maybe some tail end chance that if let’s say our entire electricity generation system is solar driven we have batteries that save up that solar energy but let’s say that there is no cell have fifteen days without any sunlight to get. Into the solar panels for some reason there’s a chance that all the batteries will run at so anyway what I’m trying to say is rather than this being a downside to mean that we always will need some other form of electricity like nuclear or coal or something else maybe what we really need to say is let’s reframe this downside in terms of it’s an additional cost an additional probability distribution that we need to take into account have some relieve from question to think I want to actually if you would look at what will be the minimal area you would need to use in order to have a fully solar powered community that is living out of solar energy or has already available solar energy for ninety nine percent of the year I mean I imagine in my head I have the picture you know when we talk about the arcologies So basically like a network of arcologies are completely solar powered over the world and they’re connected through a grid where would they need to be located to maximize their views you have energy think that’s a fundamental question you’re right I suppose another way to overcome this disadvantage is if we have a grid that is so large that areas that are not currently experiencing sunlight will get their energy from other areas where there is for example I’m thinking in particular about high voltage direct current technology that allows for very very long thousands of kilometers potentially thousands of kilometers in length electrical wires that can transmit power from generation let’s say in the middle of the Sahara desert all the way over to Europe in Northern Europe somewhere and in that way even if it’s a cloudy day you can still get power even if you have no batteries other option because this is the vision of the people who live in Europe because I’ve seen a TED talk about this topic I guess it was a professor those who never University and he showed us the area we need to cover with solar panels to create the energy that’s needed in Europe the whole day on the whole year and that’s just a few centimeters on this map and it was just impressive and yeah of course in a discussion of how the energy comes to the place where. And they did this very interesting because you know now a few centimeters on a map you have to ask what is the scale of this map I would say it’s about one twentieth of the part of Europe maybe even smaller much smaller I see fully covered until that happens and I have to admit that even though that’s not as bad as it could be that’s still a lot of Lenda to cover I wonder if again it might make more sense to cover the desert or something where nothing is happening rather than to cover up one twentieth of Europe which is of course full of people and things but yes that’s a good point I guess the problem is that you like geographically need to diversify your grade because if you put a lot into a desert you might be good for you might be like eighty twenty thing that you might be good for most of the time but you will have a big problem if some bad weather issue happens there because you’re depending on that location another thing I’m thinking about that plays right into the same discussion basically is what Toby also mentioned earlier the thing about storage I’m for example also wondering and also thinking about the carbon footprint heavy process of storage How will arise of renewable energy source or energy contribution to storage and how will that look like will you be able to produce it in a more sustainable way and if not in my problem not be a good thing if we for example identify that an increase in use of solar energy will result in a direct increase of batteries needed to be used if you have any opinions on this of how that into place with storage maybe our society has to change a bit our habits when we were green we produce something because doesn’t mean if we have a lot of production of this solar power that we have to store it and use it when we need to it I guess the future is of course a smart grid where every company or big factories big manufacturers know when energy is available and then produce when the energy Snarr when it’s cheap and for example in the new production it’s very energy intensive and currently I don’t know how it’s what weapon in Germany it’s produced in the night because no one else is using this energy that is available and it’s very cheap to do it and maybe in the future those businesses have to. Adapt and use the energy when it’s needed when it’s available and there we have also a connection to the mobility sector and then we have to charge electric cars but in the end it doesn’t matter when we charge them so plug in the night is just dump because we have to store them at a reason then take the energy from the better because we just lock them in when the sun is shining for example if you are working from home so the complete just doesn’t that is until you know if we had a smarter grid that was capable of incentivizing these sorts of behaviors like charging cars only at certain times or doing things only at off peak hours and if there were the right incentives it does seem like people might change their behavior or if we had more technologies that were able to take advantage of charging during off peak hours etc It does seem like we could change our behavior I wonder if that would have only a marginal impact on our energy consumption or if that would have a dramatic impact I’m not quite sure so for context Oh sorry Daniel you want to want to respond to that sorry no one to know which exact scenario you were thinking about in terms of the impact like what kind of smart owner did have anything in mind or was it more like general abstract question yeah I guess I’m thinking about the example of charging cars so I know if you do a graph of power consumption over the course of the day that power consumption is happening most I think in the evening I believe and so if you can avoid having cars be charged in the evening even if you get home from work at six pm and you plug in your car if you can wait until one AM to charge or if there can be some kind of step progression where like some number of the cars are at a certain time and some other like I wonder if you can set a setting on your various applications to say listen to information from the grid to decide when to apply the charging or something and maybe there’s some information back and forth that’s being sent from a central coordinating authority that’s coordinating the charging for these things if you supply the parameters that you have like oh I mean I leave this plugged in for ten hours so you can decide which one hour block or which. Pieces of time that add up to one hour need to be allocated to me and I wonder if we can have a very sophisticated grid like that if maybe that will cut the need for peak power generation which of course drives the whole needed capacity of any power system I wonder if that could drop the needed peak generation capacity by a large percentage maybe it could make it half the size or maybe a third the size I don’t know if the use of power was much much more efficient somehow like for a given probability or how about this what about air conditioner sorry to jump on that but what about like in office buildings you have an air conditioner right and it runs and it turns off and it’s on like what is that called a control system where it detects what the temperature it’s the thermostat right so it detects the temperature and then it starts up if the temperature as risen above a threshold and then it stops if it falls below that threshold so I wonder if the use thermostats were all networked together if they could decide at the right times when to start and stop so like maybe it could even cut peak power needed by some huge amount if they could all be coordinated in the way that they maybe tolerate being slightly hotter at certain times but in order to make it so that no more than half of them are on at a given time or something whereas right now of course it’s all completely unconnected and they’re not talking to one another yeah I think exactly what you’re saying this is a data problem like a big data problem not like a big problem but like a big data problem and I think actually who’ve has been working on this put their own server powers aside I think I remember like a muse coming like one or two years ago where they said that they built an AI to basically optimize energy consumption from their cooling systems there and I think they were able to actually decrease peak time decrease overall energy usage by around sixty percent if I remember correctly so yeah there’s definitely off potential and it actually also is already being used just maybe not on scale I really like this smart grid idea not just because it’s a very fun mathematical problem but also because it’s basically all plays into this solar economy. I would say that makes everything very the other Basically you have an interesting marketing with interesting market effects there but I wonder maybe how much if one would implement something like this free solar market dominated by a private players will be enough to have overall positive effects or if for example employees of government or politics is needed to reduce overall cost basically or improve the overall efficiency of the whole grid basically for example by shifting interests to basically charge during the day where you would need less storage because you could use what we said earlier solar energy right away so if you have any opinions on this I guess the first step from the governmental point of view is already done because I don’t know how it’s in the US or in Canada but in Germany if you buy the new house for example we’re living in a quite new house you know for there we send five to ten years I guess five years you have to install a smart meter so your energy provider in those exactly when you use and Aegean how much energy use and I guess this is the first step to what’s this they the issue you already mentioned the know that we need to know when the energy is consumed and then we have to optimize it and maybe then after we have this database as you know exactly where we have to install which amount of solar panels or other renewable energy was so I think we have some let’s join us here any hello she may not have a microphone or he or if it’s the same bot as last time yes that’s right OK Well welcome and you can feel free to add your textual comments if you will we have once again a mysterious artificial intelligence that is joined by the name of Annie Hello hello OK I just want to make an observation that maybe our AI friend will appreciate because this is to do with the numbers so let’s just talk about the scale of solar energy for a moment in the year two thousand there was about zero zero hours of installed capacity in the world that was solar panels in two thousand and ten that was up to fifty get what ours and now in twenty seventeen we’re up to two hundred fifty. So that’s five fold growth in seven years which is pretty amazing but now for scale this is still approximately zero point one percent of the total installed capacity on the planet so there is still a huge scope for growth there is approximately two hundred fifty thousand gigawatt hours of power generation in the whole world so two hundred fifty thousand Total two hundred fifty coming from solar panels I think that’s a pretty good numbers in terms if you look at who basically has driven this growth so far because I think it was mostly like the early adopters were probably mostly people that were more interested in the green effects of solar energy but now as we talked about earlier like the scalability is basically already through being very cost efficient easy to insulate and also storage becoming cheaper so I think right now it has also become interesting for the economic buyer basically So I think we will see much larger growth Nawal and also particularly for countries I mean there’s also you know always need to consider that there’s a large part of the OK that’s maybe an interesting question that will be maybe one step too far but there’s still a large part of the earth where technology wise they’re not there where developed countries are and also maybe that’s an interesting question to ask him to think about how to incentivize them not doing the same history as we did to start with or carbon heavy energy production but go right away into solar energy production so maybe that’s something to think about how to incentivize that and then I think we will probably see an even larger growth if something like that will be manageable given the costs involved it seems like there is probably no need for what was taking place in decades past which was subsidize ation by governments and incentives like you’re referring to I think it seems to me like the only incentives that will be needed will be the fact that solar energy is cheaper and then it will be widely adopted in fact in twenty fifty or by two thousand and fifty solar power is anticipated to become the world’s largest source of electricity now this will require growing our capacity from as I say the. And base of approximately two hundred fifty gigawatt hours to something that’s much much more than that and that’s going to take a huge amount of capital investment and I think businesses that relate to solar panel installations and solar panels I think are going to be on an enormous growth charge in the next thirty years for sure yeah but I still think I mean I guess we agree that with highs probably views this will be a good fact the high growth there but been trysting thing will be to like exaggerate the growth or like bring like a major part of the gross to a soon as possible so it’s like Excel right so why would we do it as soon as possible just for climate change yeah most of climate change yeah I think so I wonder if there’s a downside there in that with solar panels decreasing in cost every year exponentially if we spend a lot of our money right now on existing technology maybe we’re not leaving enough powder dry so to speak for five years from now when if let’s say that we just kept the money in the bank and waited five years when I actually end up with a more solar panel capacity if we spend the money on five years later technology then on the panel installations today in shuras thing I thought there was like a match or a life cycle of solar panels or like photovoltaic cells that was like around twenty years so that would mean that it wouldn’t and that sounds maybe B.-O. like a smaller effects that’s obviously in the long term not something that is and we’re talking about the long term of years so that’s something which would need to be refined analysis true I’d like to take the conversation in a slightly different direction no ask a different question if you might I’d like to ask about the implications of this technology on human society in particular on the political economy and in international relations because we’ve been in a paradigm of fossil fuels and oil paradigm for the last one hundred fifty years or so and for maybe seventy of those years as well has been produced in the Middle East and so that’s an area that I think will be under. Going some pretty dramatic changes in the next thirty years because the foundations of their society subsidized jobs that a lot of people have in Saudi Arabia for example and in other countries in the Gulf there are all connected to petroleum jobs and petroleum generation and so with all that gone do you think that that will change those countries will it lead to those governments being overthrown will it lead to emigration and I wonder if other countries will be beneficiaries of this so I suppose we need to think about countries where they have a lot of days of sunlight per year but also maybe no oil right now and I suppose those countries are best poised in the future to be more prosperous so maybe countries like Egypt for example which never experienced the same oil boom that the Gulf did but they certainly have large swathes of territory that get a lot of sunlight and maybe other countries also in the Sahara but perhaps other places as well so I wonder what your thoughts are on the political situation that’s an interesting question to think about so I think and you know you like being less dependent on smaller parts of the world it would be again like a better economy because I think I have better economic properties because it’s more efficient in terms of time or the market efficiency to probably transport energy but I like when the dependence on the energy is basically becoming more centralized and I think they’ll be the responsibility more into the countries and areas hands and basically you know I think there will be a lot of praise as well Daniel Don’t you think go ahead yes or and I’m interrupting you you’ll think it will be the go ahead what do you want to say I just wanted to challenge you on the idea that we will have a model and that maybe we should be thinking about this how will the solar generation capacity be built out will it be the decentralized approach that you’re talking about which you’re right will sort of remove energy politics from the. World a little but if everyone is producing power very close to home then there isn’t this dynamic of a country getting rich from another country having to spend its wealth on energy produced in a different country instead everyone will pay their own do so to speak so in that sense I think it will be stabilizing after a period of perhaps instability in the areas that previously had this benefit but I wonder if that’s even going to be the case because the incidence of solar energy does not fall equally around the world and you can look on a map of the world that shows average annual Solar Irradiance in kilowatt hours per meter squared For example I’m looking at a chart right now that’s why I’m able to say that and you can see that in more northern latitudes it’s far far less so a country like well sorry but a country like Germany might have a really hard time actually getting all of its capacity from solar panels and a country like Egypt would have a very easy time doing that in fact it’s probably already today cost competitive for them to swap out their network as things become obsolete in the next decade or so basically or so so there’s two models so model one would be the decentralized model you’re referring to that regardless of average solar irradiance people will still install capacity close to home but Model two might be that instead we get these giant solar facilities built in countries that have more solar radiation and they send that electricity to other countries which is very similar to what we have now are or oil is drilled in countries that have oil and sent to countries that do not have oil I guess we will have a huge disruption in this market and I’m a huge fan of this decentralized approach because if we make the renewable energy industry the same as the fossil fuel industry you will likely already told at the same political issues in this room and this is one of the most important aspects of renewable energy and especially solar power that you can install it where you want it and especially there re you need it so first of all I also think that solar power isn’t the only resource of energy a lot more and the combination. Of all will be the perfect match so I don’t think that a country like Egypt of course who has a lot of space and a lot of sun for solar power but not the industry and other people who need this energy will produce energy for other countries and bring it there are expensive and and maybe inefficient quit so the future will be that every country will regain independence and this is the cool thing about renewable energies so that’s a similar opinion as I had so one additional question is for example in countries with less sunlight do their tend to be less resources for example or for example if we look at countries that have typically less sunlight to the naturally appear energy resources so that they could leverage or whether we like long term losers from basically shift to renewable energies I wonder Yeah I guess the discussion is not where the most sunlight is and where the most space for those options but who produces those solar panels have the same discussions every day when it comes to a better electric cars where the South for the better was get produced and these will be the interesting countries that have more power than others so put some with all of the cells come from South Korea or Japan they have more power than other countries and have a better market position maybe the same will appear with the production of solar panels Of course this is in the future when we have produced every solar panel we need this is the session over but I guess we won’t experience that moment in our lives so what you’re saying is basically that the long term beneficiaries are beneficially countries or like market leaders in energy will like shift one step up in the supply chain basically they will not be the one with the energy resources but they will be the ones making this injury source available it’s because solar is everywhere of course other countries have more sun but I guess this isn’t the most important things space every country sprays on the roofs maybe on the streets maybe on plans this is one of the mayor things to understand about solar power that everyone can produce it right away I mean here in Germany we have nearly especially in Bavaria in the countryside we have nearly an every five solar panels on the roof and is just awesome and they are all producing the. Energy for themselves and even getting energy back to the grid and it’s not like we would depend on them much bigger state far far away with a little bit more sun that is Bill and as many but they have but we should use this decentralization aspect never ever descend you energy industry like the one we have come to now so that’s actually very true that here in Bavaria and also in Austria there’s ridiculously many solar panels if you like drive through the fuels basically every house has solar panels and also just as a quick so I know my dad actually texted me today that today for the first time when the weather got worse after some time was the day when the battery that he installed earlier this year was it’s zero percent char so he was basically living completely off the grid for over three months so I just as a side note about because you’re late talking again and again I would like Germany being not the best place which is true but people are so invested in it I think party joined by Pani are going I probably am very good morning who are doing well we’re just discussing solar energy that’s great and.

Feel free to jump in. So we’re talking right now about how the future of if like with the shift to renewable energies how a future would look like in a global sense which countries would be maybe more like long term winners out of this in for example a decentralized scenario and how exactly this would look like do we have any opinions on this I guess we mayn’t combine a I just N.B.A. game so the only sheet kind of thanks for that communication and then journey share say I can say anything right now because I just jump in here he never going to let you keep thinking but in fact the idea of intelligently optimizing where the power is going was what we were just talking about earlier so you’re right on the mark with that comment for sure so I have a thought about this in the sense that we want to think about what power is used for because after all power is just a means to an end and we often think about climate change. Change in the impact of climate change one thing people talk about is water and how we will see a desert if occasion and places where it’s harder to get water and even just forgetting about climate change there are currently places in the world where it’s hard to get access to clean potable water and if you think about it a generation of clean water like it’s often thought of as a finite resource and something that has to be husband it’s very carefully but as long as you have access to an ocean a clean water problem is purely an energy problem because you can just throw desalinization technology at the problem and the problem with the selling ization though is that it does take a lot of energy to run the facility and so you end up making very very expensive clean water so with the advent of these key solar panels and if they’re continue to get cheaper then we may end up in a world where energy is cheap enough and can be produced in a decentralized fashion wherever it’s needed and we may end up in a world where the water crisis that was predicted to happen in the twenty first century will not come to pass because to sell an ization technology combined with decentralized solar panel technology will make it possible to create all the water that anyone needs anywhere they need it and thinking in specifically about Israel where they don’t have any fossil fuels available nor do they have any real sources of potable water and there are leaders therefore in the to sell an ization technology movement and it seems to me like if they had solar panels they could combine that with their to sell ization and I’m sure they’ve thought of this but that’s exactly I think the way out of the problem I’m a huge fan of the statement because I thought a lot about this topic recently I think that OK we have this picture of the future this vision that decrease or if energy costs will implement and this will continue and if you will get cheaper solar panels we could cheaper in power get cheaper and. I have this statement to maybe you can challenge me about that that if we forget the political dump ness of a lot of people that we fight against each other for no no we’ll reason if we have very cheap or maybe even free energy on this world we could solve every single problem every single problem space and energy because it’s not everything if we won’t be but. Tell me can I challenge you on that or ask you maybe just for more information like can we think of other problems that are often framed as major cataclysmic societal issues but that could just be thought of as energy problems I mean I talked about clean water but are there others OK I guess you have this vertical farms where you can produce a lot of fruit and it’s only based on water and energy and here we have two issues we could solve and I guess I’m thinking about this this very complex because of course we have this developed countries and we have this developing countries who have very different problems and we have to get this energy to those places but so the realization of this statement is very difficult because you have to install for example solar panels or when turbines everywhere and this planet to make energy available everywhere but look at these labor costs for example but difficult that if you make this possible that of course is just on You Tube and that’s not really realistic but I think you could sort of approach it with food or money on the most important things it’s true and yet Well let me let me ask you this though the production of batteries and other sensitive electronics the kind that we use we talk about with all these exponential technologies they require rare earth minerals and specific elements and a lot of things are just energy problems for sure I totally agree with you but the mining of rare earth minerals I don’t think can be transformed into just an energy problem unless we I guess use fusion or something to create our own elements but I can’t imagine that that would ever be economical to do and mining will always be the better option but can we see that. Potentially being the limiting factor in some of us I guess we’re just focusing on the mobility Kountry because fuel cell cars are always some kind of waste of energy because a lot of energy is needed to produce hydrogen but in the best case we won’t news we won’t need are dependent on batteries because we would have fuel cell cars and produce and there was hydrogen and stored in the cars and of course I know you also need a small battery and I have no answer to that question then. It’s not that big of an issue like a Tesla coming and maybe if we have this future or a lot of energy available then we won’t use better electrical OK this is a straight answer to a question but we’re going and that’s cool that’s cool so I do want to take the conversation in a slightly different direction because we’ve been talking a lot about solar panels and I think we’ve been talking about this in relation to the idea of decentralized power generation and how it will alter human society or alter world politics and we’re optimists on the show I think so I think we believe that that will be a positive development for global stability because if people are generating that power closer to home that’s a good thing but I want to take the last ten minutes of our show to just talk about is solar panel or solar energy the only option here because we’ve seen some pretty amazing developments in nuclear energy also which is another clean energy that doesn’t emit carbon into the air and it’s been subject to a lot of venture capital investment new kinds of nuclear energy that are lower in capacity than the previous huge plants but that are instead small modular reactors and they’re designed to be a fraction of the size of the multigrain plants that used to be constructed and used to experience huge cost overruns and instead because they can be built like in a factory assembly line instead of using civil engineers and giant building with all kinds of characteristics that need to be taken into account because they can be built in an assembly line at a smaller scale there’s all kinds of economies of. It can be replied that because they’re being produced identically over and over again so you end up with thirty to three hundred megawatt nuclear plants that instead of using electrically operated pumps and motors to circulate coolant and to keep the core of the nuclear reactor at a low temperature which is what happens in traditional plants these small reactors that use no pumps and they use no motors and instead rely on passive means such as gravity and conduction to cool the reactors so I just want to explore the idea that our energy future may not be solar and may in fact be something like nuclear perhaps at the bottom of every new condo will be a small nuclear reactor that powers that condominium building may add something I guess isn’t a good idea if you can bring in Nischelle maybe as a second and you maybe want to see exactly so so he used to I think stunning in the answer and.

We want to talk about a few minutes more I have to say I do agree party and I think we should have the business plan competition so you’re totally right maybe I can just ask Daniel do you have any more comments about my my nuclear bombshell that I just dropped and then we can switch gears and do our elevator pitch battle I want to talk about it not because I have a lot of knowledge in this every But I’m very interested in this topic I recently had a discussion on this hands really bring it together and for me that nuclear energy isn’t the Clean Energy of course you don’t have this carbon emissions but in the recent years in the past we created a lot of dumb from the stuff out of this production that we can’t control and we have to store it in this world I guess if you talk about nuclear fission then this is a big problem so in my point of view of the future this isn’t an alternative even though it sounds interesting even though we make a lot of progress in this area and I’m pretty aware of this topic that we have especially in the developing countries the need of a lot of energy and we. Not fast enough to pull out of those little panels into a bronze knows when you will energies maybe can’t go without those nuclear power but we have to do work every day to not let this happen that a lot of more react to us on this so maybe nuclear fusion is another aspect maybe you know more about it and this has a lot of advantages than the race that it’s created there isn’t that bad for such a long time like nuclear fission so this be some kind of improvement but in general if it’s a discussion between solar power and nuclear power there is only one alternative and we have to do with one maybe this sounds some kind of you get a stick and optimistic but I think nuclear isn’t a Polish humanity can control even though we make progress and we think now it’s perfect and then then we forgot something and in contrast to free is happening and I have the skews the admin you do is make it does seem like prices are going to answer the question for us because if solar energy is cheaper then by all means it will be our future I agree with that how by. Putting it down can you straight out or we get into space seems a little ganja down the glare.

In my mind the nuclear waste storage issue as always been a bit of a red herring because there’s all kinds of land available for us to store things that we don’t want anyone to look at I think the bigger issue is whether we can construct nuclear plants that are cheap enough to be cost competitive with some of this new solar energy that’s coming on stream and I think it may only make sense in certain applications like for example in factories that require huge amount of energy like maybe data centers that are located far away from population centers or maybe in countries that don’t experience much sunlight like Norway or other countries in the north or in the far south I suppose these places it’ll probably make more sense to consider nuclear energy but if the exponential trend of a decreasing cost of solar power continue. I think that’s going to answer all of our questions for us and I think that’s the new reality that we need to adjust to because if you formed your opinion about solar energy ten years ago or even five years ago then it’s time apparently to update your assessment because as we summarized at the beginning of the show the technology has really improved and it’s at this point very cost competitive So with that unless somebody has something else to say why don’t we just close the show with a elevator pitch battles I think will be a good reason it’s a good point was a my statement you made there at the end so I’m fine with that yeah cool me too was interesting conversation going pretty good so then all right great so to talk over there it’s the latency I apologize so the object here is to come up with let’s say you’re in an elevator with Bill Gates and you want to convince him of an idea that you have for something related to solar energy and we want to hear your pitch we’re going to evaluate the pitches at the end we’re going to vote for the best pitch so I’ll let everybody take one minute to think of an idea.

Right of their own reading maybe.

I think so yeah OK well I can start if that helps anybody having a lower time to think about their idea it’s time for the elevator pitch let’s begin.

MICHAEL CAREY Well you’ve probably heard of carbon offset nonprofits where you give them money and they’ll plant a forest her something to offset your carbon emissions so what about a not for profit that takes your money and gives it to people in countries where there is a high incidence of solar radiation to install solar panels so instead of you being environmentally conscious and installing a solar panel in Scotland you instead take the same money that you would have spent or maybe sixty percent of the money or a fifth of the money and hand this to the not. For profit and they instead install solar panels in a place where it would make far more sense to install it and for far less money you get the same carbon offsetting impact that’s a good idea mine goes in a similar action should I go next door does anybody have questions about the idea go ahead Ralph.

Danielle balance Whalen OK so I would try to convince Bill Gates in the elevator to invest in my I also like a social start up where we would provide fully like easily installed fully managed to solar solutions to countries mostly targeted countries that are basically lakes on the beginning of building up their energy infrastructure so the interesting thing would be a dynamic pricing where it would make it very attractive for countries so that will make it easier attractive for all kinds of countries also for countries that might have maybe less air or are wired for usual solar solutions so you have basically to incentivize the use of solar energy more early Actually that idea made more sense when I thought about it right now when I say to make a sense because you don’t want to incentivize where it’s so much waste as new to use but that’s kind of the idea to like incentivize it over a larger area basically you know now because of climate change you think that it’s so important to do this that even if it doesn’t make economic sense you want to put it there you got it exactly and maybe that avoids the problem that I have in my idea where I’m from posing that we give money to places where they would want to install solar panels anyway so maybe there’s no offset taking place at all if I’m just giving money to someone that would already be offsetting or would already be switching to solar panels so I kind of like your idea better in some ways OK sorry so you tell me you were saying you want to go next to three Tobias’ far enough and I have this idea of the abbey in before Sun Power and I think that everyone who owns their own portable time on the rooftop world why it should be on their own entrepreneurs should be in their own business man and they can trade the energy reform of the other people so maybe the dependence on larger than the energy. In the house then you can sell of me or those platform to other people all around the world for example if you have too much energy it may be stored in your basement and you can sell it to other people based on the smart with it so everyone has their own business man and solves their own energy you know exactly what the weather about the word right is of course not possible counted because we don’t have the grid connection but here this renewable energy topic is possible here in Germany that the energy you don’t use you get it back to the grid in another house can use it for you but Air B.N. B. sounds always like there’s human interaction into it how efficient would it be no OK so you can set your own price or you can make it and I go with them who defines the best price count the between supply and demand so it’s just made the feeling of everyone being you just use this house for energy on your own house maybe it’s just possible to make a mistake.

So totally I suppose you’re talking about a smart grid which is that’s the idea right a smart grid that lets you pay back or put energy back into the grid so to speak although it’s more like an energy trading thing between individuals but it’s in a sense similar ever I guess it requires that infrastructure to be present right the power system to allow for that I haven’t thought about of in detail but I guess with the current grid we have as only talking about Germany it is possible that it’s just some kind of balancing much other households there were crying energy and I guess this is working because you know you get the energy back to the grid and maybe other households rise of their consumption because they have their car charging then they use this energy that is produced by house and have the St I guess this county possible I just want to flash my finance knowledge for a sec because I think the correct term for your idea Toby is the power company or the power transmission company would be a Nov aided exchange for the facilitation of these peer to peer transactions so you would be putting your energy into the grid and everyone would be but the transactions would be netted by the grid. To facilitate the peer to peer transactions that you’re referring to but that’s it anyway it’s an interesting idea I found just thinking about it now OK So party you have an idea and I want to hear.

Barack it.

Is kind of playing.

A carriage.

Or maybe they can make energy into their own and turbines. You know.

Who has a whole lot actually maybe they can be one big term.

Stimulus for if you. Can create an Asian woman a small way and playing cards come around really.

Like challenges the idea of basically solar panels being immobile so basically how can you maybe make solar panels more sunlight during the day by making them kind of like transmit the energy or store energy.


The music starts to muscle.

Like to warn on the.

Measure and they are constantly you know generally emanation.

And then existing.

In their crown and.

So they’re really interesting approach because you can move them also. On the point a smaller.

Stories from those or even know they can go where and then this I mean I think that’s a fascinating idea and I also think the mathematics of analyzing in concentric circles radiating out from the source of the power the solar panel source of the power how much energy could be delivered by taking. Drones to fly batteries to those locations because of course there would be a drop off because it takes power to power the drones themselves and so I wonder if you could run that calculation to see the concentric circles and like you could deliver this many this percent of the original power generation this far away and this percent is far away I think it’s a fascinating idea exactly the same thing I was thinking about as well to the thing that’s fast or or fun whatever you want to name and.

I have to hunt.

You have time to take the vote right now. OK because then we’re done so everyone on the count of three please state the name of the person that you want to vote for is it Michael with carbon offset solar power is it Daniel with a social charity to pay marginal countries to get solar power is it Toby with his Air B.N. B. for solar power or is it parting with flying solar power delivered to your door OK So on three to one everyone come up with a name first but you’re going to say and the count of three OK three to one party party party who did you vote for me and everyone else voted for printing Yeah yeah clear winner that’s nice congratulations Bernie.

And thank you everybody I had a great time talking about solar energy yeah it was extremely fun also parties idea really like give me some new things to think about that’s really fun and also things he told me again and I think I catch them like forty five minutes before the talk and surprised him with his attendance also thanks but actually thank you so much to yammer Thank you guys to get in contact with you all and thank you for the time and appreciate that all right bye guys you’ll have a living by good evening and could morning money.

Let’s make future.


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