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Solar Revolution: The Economic Transformation of the Global Energy Industry

Solar Revolution: The Economic Transformation of the Global Energy Industry


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In Solar Revolution, fund manager and former corporate buyout specialist Travis Bradford argues -- on the basis of standard business and economic forecasting models -- that over the next two decades solar energy will increasingly become the best and cheapest choice for most electricity and energy applications. Solar Revolution outlines the path by which the transition to solar technology and sustainable energy practices will occur.Developments in the photovoltaic (PV) industry over the last ten years have made direct electricity generation from PV cells a cost-effective and feasible energy solution, despite the common view that PV technology appeals only to a premium niche market. Bradford shows that PV electricity today has become the choice of hundreds of thousands of mainstream homeowners and businesses in many markets worldwide, including Japan, Germany, and the American Southwest. Solar energy will eventually be the cheapest source of energy in nearly all markets and locations because PV can bypass the aging and fragile electricity grid and deliver its power directly to the end user, fundamentally changing the underlying economics of energy. As the scale of PV production increases and costs continue to decline at historic rates, demand for PV electricity will outpace supply of systems for years to come. Ultimately, the shift from fossil fuels to solar energy will take place not because solar energy is better for the environment or energy security, or because of future government subsidies or as yet undeveloped technology. The solar revolution is already occurring through decisions made by self-interested energy users. The shift to solar energy is inevitable and will be as transformative as the last century's revolutions in information and communication technologies.

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Best book on distributed solar energy

This book provides an excellent economic analysis of the prospects for the solar energy industry. The author considers that fundamental economic drivers make solar power the best bet for the coming decades. The dominance of solar will be driven by falling costs (dropping 5-6% annually), the advantages of a distributed system that will ultimately depend little on the expensive public grid, rising costs of fossil fuels, exploding demand in industrializing economies, and the need for greener energy. His book is short, compelling and well-footnoted. Other than Vaclav Smil, he has no equal in the field of renewable energy, particularly solar energy.

Objective analysis based on sound economics

A great look at the actual costs of electricity generated and delivered through a wide range of channels. Based on sound economic principles, the book illustrates how solar power will become competitive in price to fossil fuel-generated electricity in the near future (years, not decades). Is it convincing? Suprisingly, yes. The reasons why the #'s fall in favor of solar in the near future have a lot to do with the distributed nature of solar power (no added transmission infrastruture costs), and the fact that solar power is generated most easily during the time of day when electric loads peak. Check it out and see if you agree with the author's analysis. If so, our future is going to be a lot greener than many of us would have thought.

Essential Read On Solar's Potential

Excellent overview on economic potential of Solar. This book is optimistic that Solar's inherent scalability...low maintenance and power will make it the choice to replace much, it not all fossil fuels in a few decades. The devil is in the assumptions, the reader must assess if they agree. The next several years will confirm or disprove the assertions. Note: Figure 5.6 on page 111 is actually 5.5.

Fascinating look at energy alternatives

This is a well-written, well-researched book comprising a wealth of knowledge and statistics on traditional and renewable energy sources. Even if you know nothing about solar energy, you'll find this book fascinating and informative. With energy becoming such a hot topic these days, the book will give you an excellent background on a wide range of energy resources along with a captivating story about a possible future alternative. Highly recommended!


The Solar Revolution makes an incredibly compelling argument for the future of solar energy. The author does this in a way that takes the emotions out of the argument and gives us straight talk about how solar makes economic sense. The writing is really superb and I highly recommend it if you want deep understanding about the inevitability of solar energy. Sam

Edition Details

Publisher:The MIT Press
Lowest Price:$3.59
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