I'm pleased to announce the publication The Solar High-Impact National Energy (SHINE) Project, a major new study I've been working on for the better part of a year with my colleagues at Clean Edge, in collaboration with Co-op America's Solar Catalyst Group.
The free report can be downloaded Here.
SHINE calls for an ambitious and aggressive, three-pronged initiative to make solar both cost-competitive and a significant part of America’s energy mix within 10 years. It emphasizes the positive benefits American-made solar can have on energy security, U.S. business growth, the creation of thousands of jobs across the nation, environmental and public health, and reducing stress on America’s electricity grid.
With Business As Usual, we get none of this. In fact, we are likely to lose yet another American industry, and all the jobs that go with it, to Europe and Asia.
Specifically, SHINE calls for three program:
SHINE is centered on the uniquely American way of solving problems: by stimulating markets -- in this case, to the point where solar can take off and bring jobs, prosperity, and security to America through private-sector initiative. It can address environmental problems such as climate change without resorting to regulations and treaties.
As a program that calls forth the power of markets, SHINE focuses on lowering the price of solar so that it can compete in every energy market and make a major contribution to energy security and independence -- on rooftops for homeowners and businesses, in neighborhood and regional installations for utilities, and by providing low-cost energy for the coming generation of hydrogen fuel cells and high-efficiency batteries.
Combined, SHINE’s three programs reduce the price of solar far faster than would take place under Business As Usual, thereby creating mass markets for solar far sooner than they would otherwise develop. By 2025, SHINE would reduce prices to as low as 80 cents per installed watt, compared to about $2.71 for Business As Usual -- a dramatic difference that would make solar cost-competitive with -- perhaps cheaper than -- fossil fuels and other more polluting energy sources.
And, along the way, SHINE would ensure America’s participation in what is expected to be one of the fastest-growing global industries of the next decade. It would reverse the loss of high-paying jobs already taking place in the U.S. renewable energy sector, which has seen companies and jobs depart American shores for China, Germany, Japan, Korea, and elsewhere. And by reclaiming leadership in this sector, the United States would enjoy the creation of up to 580,000 good-paying U.S. jobs -- most of which cannot be exported overseas because they involve local installation and maintenance of solar systems on rooftops and in neighborhoods in every community.
SHINE report focuses on solar photovoltaics (PV), the technology by which sunlight is turned directly into electricity -- the types of systems seen increasingly on building rooftops. PV is not the only solar technology. Solar thermal systems -- in which the sun heats water for use by a building’s occupants -- are common primarily outside the U.S. And concentrating solar power technologies -- which use reflective materials such as mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy, which is then converted into electricity using any of several technologies -- has huge potential for large-scale, utility-like electric generating systems.
All three technologies are important components of a solar energy future, but we believe it is solar PV that holds the largest short-term potential to provide the greatest economic, environmental, social, and national security benefits.
We also believe that a U.S. energy policy that delivers the national security, economic protection, and health and safety that Americans deserve also requires full commitment to energy efficiency as well as to other renewable energy sources, from wind to biomass to geothermal. Yet, after all of these technologies are fully deployed there will still be unmet energy needs; needs that can be uniquely fulfilled by solar.
And solar PV technology is ready. The quality and reliability of solar PV have matured, the price has dropped, and technology is poised for widespread deployment. The American marketplace has rolled out, with great success and prosperity, technologies that were much less mature than solar when they began to scale up -- transistors, personal computers, cell phones, and high-definition TV, just to name a few. SHINE’s programs will serve to create and accelerate a virtuous circle of technology improvement, market expansion, and price reductions that will only enhance solar’s value and appeal.
I hope you'll take a look . . . and look forward to your comments.
The publication of SHINE coincides with the release of a new study released by the Energy Foundation and undertaken by Navigant Consulting, Inc., which describes the vast market potential for rooftop solar photovoltaic systems (PV) in the United States. The study, “PV Grid Connected Market Potential in 2010 Under a Cost Breakthrough Scenario,” provides an estimate of the market for PV systems in the United States based on available rooftop space for residential and commercial solar PV.
Among the key findings are that by 2010: