Okay, maybe you don't watch Grey's Anatomy but maybe your wife or girlfriend does.
So you may recognize Patrick Dempsey (aka McDreamy) endorsing the solar energy solution and Trina Solar as a manufacturer of PV panels in the videos below.
When Hollywood stars associate themselves with a photovoltaic panel manufacturer, then you know it's for real. This industry is stepping into the mainstream and it's no longer a B2B sector. Consumers and the large public are being invited to change their way of thinking about electricity.
From small scale arrays on house rooftops, panels integrated into the architectural design of the buildings, to large scale farms, solar is here to stay and it comes in every size. It appeals to each category of customers: individual, institutional and private held companies.
All of a sudden, we're all in the energy business. So the potential market for specific products and services is immense. That's why you should invest in solar and green energy.
It will never find me here.
Just think. Something as basic as electricity will never reach me here. Or there. Or anyplace where power lines refuse to go.
Unfortunately it can’t reach another 2 billion people who live outside the existing energy infrastructure. That’s billions. With a B.
Entire communities are missing out on the modern tool that can heal and teach them. And can give them the opportunities that the rest of us rarely think about when we open our laptops, turn on our televisions and turn up our thermostats.
I wanna learn about the Sun. Is it a solution?
Incredibly, enough sunlight falls on us in 15 minutes to power the planet for an entire year. Yet today, close to a third of the world can’t even boil water.
The good news is the Sun is fast becoming a real possibility of the future. We’re getting much better at harnessing its light so that tomorrow its power will be available to all of us. Anywhere.
But what about right now?
At this school we have 54 kids. Some of them come from far away. And this has been home for many of them, their entire childhood.
Our mission is to provide for our children, the things they need to be successful in life. That includes meaningful experiences like to grow their own food.
Electricity is very expensive here in Mexico. So if we can save some money we will be able to have more kids in our facility.
Today there are 300 million (figure was valid in Oct 2011) solar panels generating electricity. That’s one solar panel for every 20 people. In fact, since 2007 the cost of generating solar power has dropped by more than 50%, making solar more affordable than ever.
The impact goes far beyond costs. It’s improving people’s lives on a daily basis.
For example, the medical centre in Tanzania had no electricity until recently.
We installed 3 solar panels and today they have a refrigerator to store their vaccines. They have a phone an a cell phone charging station. And of course they have lights allowing them to accept and treat people even during night time.
Power is not a luxury. Not anymore.
Our world is electric and everybody needs a chance to plug in. Hospitals need to treat at all ours, students need computers to stay in touch, people need irrigation to prepare their food. Just basic needs.
But is the price of supplying that power really the big issue we are facing? Or is it the cost of losing an entire community? What about the cost of leaving one sick child untreated?
Victory Junction, in North Carolina is an innovative children's camp dedicated to enriching the lives of kids fighting chronic illness.
In 2011, 72 solar panels were installed at this facility. That greatly reduced the energy bill.
The economics are simple: every $2500 saved means that one more child can benefit from the camps activities and medical treatment.
We are seeing examples around the world and especially in the sunny areas - where residential and commercial applications are producing more than enough to meet the needs.
For those on the grid this can be a new source of income, yet for some communities or some institutions the initial capital can be a challenge. And that is our opportunity as a business and as an industry, to get them up and running.
Besides from making power more affordable and available to emerging or challenged regions, today the solar industry employs hundreds of thousands of people. It could be millions in the next decade.
And most of those are skilled and valuable jobs.
The Sun’s energy is not just renewable, it’s essentially endless. While it may give us the 20% by 2050 it can also change and save lives today.
Can the industry’s best and brightest innovate beyond their products? Are they willing to invent and subsidize solutions so that developing regions don’t fall behind another 40 years.
We know we can create our own electricity here in a more affordable way. In fact we installed a solar panel a few months ago for our water pump. This is just the beginning. We know there is a long way to go.
I was fortunate that I went to school and became an engineer. And I just feel so happy that these kids can have the same opportunity that I had.
We can create energy independence not only for countries but also for families and individuals. That puts the solar industry in a unique position to bring power to the people in need.
It is our obligation to identify these communities that are either off the grid entirely or that are being buried by the high price of power. The solar panels are just part of it though. The easy part. It takes commitment to seek out those in need and determine how they will benefit from it.
I know a lot of you want to know about solar. So I brought for you a little helicopter with a solar panel on it. And when the sun’s coming up on the solar panel on the helicopter, the helicopter is spinning. It creates electricity.
To do all of this, it takes of more than just a panel manufacturer. Distributors, installers, integrators, local utilities are essential as well.
This is a race. And the environment is not the only thing that’s at stake. Thank goodness the solar industry has a track record of beating deadlines. They’re nearly a decade ahead of what was scheduled.
And the Sun has been a fantastic partner so far. It rises every day. It shows us what’s possible.
Is staring us in the face.
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