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level 1
62 points · 1 year ago

I never imagined Fossil Fuels would be able to be abandoned so quickly.

Fossil fuels produce about 85% of world energy while solar provides less than 1%. "Abandoned" isn't the term that jumps to mind.

level 2
∞ transit umbra, lux permanet ☥Original Poster12 points · 1 year ago

Fossil fuels produce about 85% of world energy while solar provides less than 1%.

My point being solar is currently doubling at a rate, if it keeps steady, means it will be producing 100% of today's total energy in 14 years & at a price that will make $10 a barrel oil look expensive.

I'd guess you could see a lot of abandoning in that scenario.

level 3
45 points · 1 year ago

My point being solar is currently doubling at a rate, if it keeps steady

Do you think that maintaining such a rate is feasible or likely? It's very easy to double capacity when you have almost non installed, but consider the costs involved with doubling that every couple of years. Exponential growth, unless it's produced by sex, is almost impossible to maintain.

level 4
∞ transit umbra, lux permanet ☥Original Poster20 points · 1 year ago · edited 1 year ago

Do you think that maintaining such a rate is feasible or likely?

It seems like lots of tech before it, TV's, Radio's, cellphones - it could go for near 100% market penetration.

I'm most hopeful for it in the huge chunks of the world with no electricity grid - they won't need it in this case.

level 6
BI + Automation = Creativity Explosion8 points · 1 year ago

Heyo! I think 2016 is the first year we saw energy companies starting to feel threatened by solar, or at least the first year that their realization started to take effect. A lot of states in the US that were solar friendly started to see laws where the users couldn't sell back their energy to the grid and other changes that made solar a less useful investment, especially while still paying for grid maintenance and usage when solar didn't cut it.

Please also note that the article you've linked says that one of the reasons investment fell is because prices fell. Eg, even while the solar industry grew, companies could buy more for less, so meeting their targets of acquiring could be met with less investment.

Ofc it's not all sunny roses, but to me this seems like a road bump rather than a change in direction or speed. I've taken this big dip in solar to invest in it heavily - putting my money where my mouth is :).

level 7

How are you investing? Setting up panels? Buying stock? Just curious.

level 8
BI + Automation = Creativity Explosion3 points · 1 year ago

I'm big into etfs because I can buy and sell them easily in my discount brokerage account. I bought TAN which is the more popular (not necessarily better) solar aggregate ETF. It means I'm less invested in one company and more in the whole solar industry, which I think will skyrocket over the next 15 years.

level 5
21 points · 1 year ago · edited 1 year ago

Electricity is very different from primary energy and past energy transitions (which were all easier) took well over half a century to complete. See e.g. publications by Vaclav Smil https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=vaclav+smil&btnG=&hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&as_vis=1

Transitions are typically sigmoids, and early phases of a logistic curve look like an exponential. We have multiple mature-deployment countries which have not only slowed down but actually regressed in the deployment rate.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Germany#/media/File:Germany_Solar_Capacity_Added.png

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Italy#Photovoltaics

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_France#Photovoltaic_installations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Spain#Photovoltaics

level 5
Comment deleted1 year ago(5 children)
level 6
7 points · 1 year ago · edited 1 year ago

20% isn't really "a drop in the bucket," unless you are a user of very small buckets.

level 7
Comment deleted1 year ago(0 children)
level 8

That make sense.

level 9

and India and china are building massive coal electrical power station that will not finish before years from now, and many other nations. I do not think they going to build massive stations to shut them in less than 10 years!! they are not bothering even building natural gas power stations , they are going for cheap fuel, coal. your reading into in to optimistic.

level 10

Not so many as they were going to build.

Part of this is caring about pollution, a bigger part is awareness that the economics of power generation are changing and that this probably is a bad time to invest in coal.

I do not think they going to build massive stations to shut them in less than 10 years!!

I saw one prediction about how soon it would be that building new solar installations would actually be cheaper than continuing to operate existing coal-fired plants.

level 5

It would be a sweet irony if capitalism and consumerism's final shots we're to get us all to buy into solar energy because the price was just too good to pass up.

level 4

Exponential growth, unless it's produced by sex, is almost impossible to maintain.

It needn't be maintained; it can flatten out around 100%.

level 5

Are you saying exponential economic growth will stop? Otherwise solar would need to be keep growing exponentially to keep deployment at 100%.

level 6
3 points · 1 year ago · edited 1 year ago

Are you saying exponential economic growth will stop?

It has to at some point, sure. On Earth it can't continue at recent rates for that long. Of course we might eventually start colonizing the universe, in which case there could definitely be exponential growth in solar power for quite a while (presumably with a much smaller exponent). (I'm not really sure that could be exponential.)

More to the point, I don't think the ability to generate electricity will be the limiting factor of economic growth.

level 7

it has to at some point My focus is on surviving the contraction from fossil fuels back to 100% renewable solar (biomass, crops, solar, wind, etc)

presumably with a much smaller exponent After some indeterminate crash and hiatus. If we ignore our ecological limits, the crash will be more deadly abs the hiatus longer.

I think our long term aspirations for civilization aren't that divergent. I'm just trying to get people to get real about what's unfolding (resource depletion, climate change, economic upheaval).

level 4
Avionics Systems Engineer12 points · 1 year ago

Exponential growth, unless it's produced by sex, is almost impossible to maintain.

Tell that to the adoption of cell phones. Or the Automobile. Or transistor count. Or internet accessibility. Technologies are often adopted at an exponential rate. Solar power has been on that trend for 20 years, and you may be skeptical it will continue, the reality of evidence supports this.

I would argue that not only maintaining solar power rate is likely, its inevitable. Every piece of empirical evidence that exists would support that assertion.

level 5
22 points · 1 year ago

Solar power has been on that trend for 20 years,

You keep failing to address the point that its rate of growth is showing marked slowing.

level 6
Avionics Systems Engineer13 points · 1 year ago

US Solar Market Set to Grow 119% in 2016, Installations to Reach 16 GW

The industry is growing faster than ever and here is what else we saw in this SMI report:

The outlook for the rest of 2016 is just as eye-opening. The industry expects to add 13.9 GW of new capacity, which would be an 85 percent growth rate over 2015, solar's largest year ever. The U.S added 4 GW of capacity in the first half of 2016, but the industry will add nearly 10 GW in the final six months, which is 34 percent more than was installed in all of 2015, a record year.

http://www.ecowatch.com/solar-energy-record-growth-2003130851.html

level 5

Hey I am 52 years old and they taught us that solar power was the future, and I still believe that even though it's been around so long. I think I will live to see it with the help of Med-robots. Really no fun intended. Let's make it happen in our life time.

level 3
14 points · 1 year ago

And in 16 years we will be generating more solar energy than the sun! /s

You can't extrapolate and assume you won't hit limits, and it is easy to double something when it was tiny to start with.

level 4
[deleted]
1 point · 1 year ago

Of course a limit will eventually be reached. I realize you're being sarcastic, but the amount of energy we need is comparatively small, especially when looking at the output of the sun. We only need about 1/10,000th of the energy from the sun that hits the earth every day to reach 100% of our energy needs. Another way to think about it is if we captured all of the energy hitting the earth from the sun in an hour and a half, we would have enough energy for one year of current energy consumption.

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