by Toby Kinkaid, Solardyne Corporation
Does the Recent Blackout in the US East Coast tell you something?
The recent Blackout on the East Coast may have been the best thing to ever happen. In those darkened homes and office buildings, as computers and servers went down 50 million energy consumers came face to face with the most fundamental question of our industrial society: where does our energy come from?
As experts and pundits talk about supply and demand, what they are really missing is the unequivocal fact that you must buy electricity from someone else. We have power plants and transmission lines, but what we also have is an electrical power system that's based on the assumed fact that you have to buy electricity from some third party: a utility.
Solar Versus Utility Costs
It's certainly true that for the last one hundred years if you wanted to use electricity you must buy it as any other commodity, but now in the 21st century everything has changed. Remember the first computers? Centralized and only accessible over wires, now computers are "personal" and are totally decentralized. These distributed processors such as PCs, PDAs and cell phones demonstrate that it makes more sense to do the processing "on-site" where and when you need it, than to source it from some distant centralized location. The same is true of energy.
For the last three centuries our industrial society could be described as the "Hydrocarbon Man" as carbon fueled our industrial growth. As with Information Technologies, the powerful logic of producing power where you need it will follow suit as we become the "Silicon Man".
Solar energy drives the entire natural world. Why not the industrial world? Using today's proven Solar Photovoltaic (PV) technology, based on the same silicon wafers used in the electronics industry, electricity can be produced in industrial quantities where it is consumed, in effect, the grid which is a costly and vulnerable anachronism becomes an obsolete idea. Solar produced electricity consumed at site, fed directly into today's grid (turning your electric meter backward), or stored in batteries for night time use, allows these distributed sources of solar power to not only produce useful electricity, but do so with no fuel costs, no pollution, no effect on global warming and in such a way as to greatly reduce our trade deficit with other nations (by not buying high priced imported fossil fuels) so that we as a nation have more of our national wealth available to improve our nation and to utilize for our benefit. This would not only eliminate, by definition, any future blackouts, it would lower real costs because you only pay for the hardware once.
Most people today pay monthly electric bills, and 10 years from now will also be paying electric bills. What will be the price of electricity ten years from now? No one knows, but with a solar and wind system you know exactly what your cost of electricity will be. Since no one bills you for the sun and wind, you only pay for the hardware once, and periodic maintenance. The advantages for our economy are staggering.
Solar and wind systems used together are today routinely used in remote sites because they require no fuel supply (other than exposure to nature), and produce no toxicity and are chosen for their reliability. Working for decades with proper maintenance every home and office building can be equipped with properly sized solar and/or wind systems that provide clean, reliable, and dependable energy for decades.
Clean Energy Technologies for Everyday Life
Whether you're powering your power plant, factory, home, cell phone or laptop, you can use clean energy technologies to do it. The countries that apply these new technologies will have the real edge in the 21st century economy. Solar technology is good for the electricity consumer by offering stable, fuel-cost free, reliable power. It's good for the environment because there is no pollution; and good for local economies because it produces jobs and growth and can equalize national budgets as more-or-less all countries have equal access to light and wind although not to fossil fuels.
It has been recently proposed to invest up to $100 billion on grid improvements in the US. A better use of these funds would be to not invest in the grids but to invest in providing power at the source of power requirements in distributed solar and wind power plants on location at specific office buildings, factories, malls, and homes. The leverage achieved with these bulk purchases would help lower the front-end costs of these clean energy systems and would not only produce usable electricity and lower our and other countries trade deficits (the majority of most trade deficits is in purchase of fossil fuels), but would also generate an income stream for U.S. and many other nations companies as these systems qualify for a 1.5 cents/Kwh U.S. federal carbon tax credit for U.S. companies and a similar tax rebate in many other countries. On a multi megawatt basis this produces a revenue stream that would further decrease the costs of these systems. In this scenario, you receive a savings which you can think of as a check every month from your utility, for example.
Oregon State in the Northwest of the US is not only famous of its high tech industries and for being home to companies like Intel, TriQuint, Radisys, or InFocus, plus large consuming goods companies such as Nike or Columbia Sports, but is the leading State in the nation in sustainable and energy saving development. An Oregon solar and wind systems company, Solardyne Corporation (www.Solardyne.com), is the leading solutions company offering advanced technology to effectively turn the power of nature in sunlight and the wind into useful energy. Consumers are waking to the arguments favoring this and company's sales jumped 3 fold within 2 years which shows the potential in the use of solar and wind power in industries and homes. Solardyne Founder and CEO, Toby Kinkaid, said in a recent interview "that our company can allow every individual, office or company to create a revolution by becoming their own power company and harnessing some of the natural power of sunlight and the wind that we all take for granted."
Mr. Kinkaid whose thinking moves at a rapid pace is already conceiving new ways to better improve the technology he advocates and has eyed Thailand as his headquarters in Asia for his company. Solardyne and Kinkaid have picked Thailand because of its central location, the current governments acknowledged support for a solar industry and the King's obvious example of the value of solar power in demonstrating solar technology in many of his palaces and at many Royal supported projects. Kinkaid and his Senior Engineer Mr. Wataru Okamura, EE who also participated in the interview say "Asia with its higher energy costs, need for development, sensitivity to nuclear power and lack of large power grids can make quick and ready use of this new technology."
Kinkaid and Okamura have been joined by business veterans Dr. Brad Malsin and Dr. Christopher Runckel and a young team of diverse specialists. This group is generating its own energy and the company is moving the project along rapidly and aggressively by reaching out to local academics and offering collaboration in solar energy research, by planning for a soon to open company solar research and development (R&D) center located in Thailand near Universities and other key infrastructure and by initially reviewing resumes for a Thai national to coordinate local research and to work with Kinkaid, Okamura and other Solardyne researchers. With government and private sector support already at an advanced state the project is well to becoming a reality. Because of this, Mr. Kinkaid is confident that his advanced technology can help Thailand become "the center of solar energy in Asia, if not soon the world".
All the world really needs is a power supply that has no fuel costs, no pollution, and is available to everyone, everywhere, and relatively all at once. There is a technology which makes this possible today. Perhaps the recent blackout was really a blessing. After all, 50 Million electricity consumers in the dark that night may have seen the light go on for their future.