One of the things I’ve never understood about solar power is why we have to build all of these big solar farms out in the middle of nowhere in order to use solar power. I’ve always thought that if everyone just put a couple of solar panels on the roofs of their houses the problem could be solved; homes would be self sufficient and excess energy could be sold back into the grid. By the time every house had solar panels on their roofs it would be the equivalent of one of these big unsightly solar farms anyway, so why not go for it?
I was recently encouraged to see that we may finally be heading in this direction. In an interview with NRG CEO David Crane he discusses how the electric industry will be changing and looks at the choices that people will have when it comes to their energy consumption needs. He discusses how in the future “the explosive-growth part will be between distributed solar power, which is like 1 to 10 megawatt size, and then residential, which is measured in kilowatts. We have so many parking lots and warehouse rooftops and residential locations where people want to reduce their monthly electric bills and that is just an enormous area of growth….”
He also discusses how the move to a smart grid and electric cars will play a major role in how we satisfy our energy needs. With the smart grid in place it will automatically schedule your energy needs to be fulfilled when demand on the grid is low and program your car to charge when it’s most cost efficient. These approaches make sense and allow us as consumers to have a choice about how we consume and how our consumption affects the planet.