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In the utility room of a wealthy homeowner was a Rube Goldberg-like solar system, impossibly complex. It wasn’t working. In the 1970s, it was my first solar story.
We’ve come a long way, baby. Now they work, and the biggest obstacle – cost – is going away. Good ol’ American know-how would have risen to the challenge, eventually, but the Chinese beat us to the punch.
We should be worried about this, but instead we’re listening to talking heads bleat about the Obama administration’s loan to Solyndra, a California solar company that tanked because Chinese technology drove prices down. In the usual political hay making during the investigation, let’s remember: Solyndra isn’t the whole story.
In the magazine Innovation is a report by Georgina Benedetti, senior energy and power systems analyst for Frost & Sullivan, an international consulting firm.
“Solar photovoltaic systems have, over the last 50 years, evolved into a mature, sustainable and adaptive technology,” she wrote. Technology and design are improving, and solar power is becoming more cost-effective.
(Warning: A defense of solar should not be taken as a snub to conventional sources. We will need them all.)
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