Okay, so that is a rhetorical question, thanks to today’s business story, “Silicon Valley Starts to Turn Its Face to the Sun.” Perhaps people will stop claiming that blogs are the place where information is presented with no context. Some day.
Anyone reading the NYT article would be left with the decided impression that solar power has been waiting on the sidelines for Silicon Valley to make it a success:
… some of the valley’s best brains are captivated by the challenge, and they hope to put the development of solar technologies onto a faster track.
A faster track? As BP notes, the “Ten-year average annual growth rate was 31%” for photovoltaic capacity. Growth exceeded 40% in 2004 and 2005. The only power source with growth that is even comparable is wind power.
I have great hopes that Silicon Valley can help keep PV on this fast track, but solar is already le train a grande vitesse, n’est-ce pas? Pardon my French.
While technology development is critical — and the US Federal Government has played an important role here for decades — most of the PV generation capacity growth has been in Japan and Germany, driven primarily by government incentives that are scarce in this country.
The article, which is somewhat informative for solar newbies, unfortunately ends by saying
The fear of a solar bubble is legitimate, but … solar energy may gain traction [!] because of a simpler rule than Moore’s Law: where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Yeah, solar may gain traction … some day … if people have the will….
NOTE to NYT: Solar has gained traction already. And futher growth won’t be driven by “will,” it will be driven by, uhh, the growing consensus on the need to price carbon dioxide emissions to fight global warming and, uhh, record high energy prices that will no doubt be even higher in a decade, coupled with technology improvements and mass production techniques, some (but probably not most) of which will come from Silicon Valley. But I guess the real story is not sexy enough for the Gray Lady.