The Switch: How solar, storage and new tech means cheap power for all

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Profile Books, Jul 7, 2016 - Science - 175 pages
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How will the world be powered in ten years' time? Not by fossil fuels. Energy experts are all saying the same thing: solar photovoltaics (PV) is our future. Reports from universities, investment banks, international institutions and large investors agree. It's not about whether the switch from fossil fuels to solar power will happen, but when.
Solar panels are being made that will last longer than ever hoped; investors are seeing the benefits of the long-term rewards provided by investing in solar; in the Middle East, a contractor can now offer solar-powered electricity far cheaper than that of a coal-fired power station. The Switch tracks the transition away from coal, oil and gas to a world in which the limitless energy of the sun provides much of the energy the 10 billion people of this planet will need. It examines both the solar future and how we will get there, and the ways in which we will provide stored power when the sun isn't shining.
We learn about artificial photosynthesis from a start-up in the US that is making petrol from just CO2 and sunlight; ideas on energy storage are drawn from a company in Germany that makes batteries for homes; in the UK, a small company in Swindon has the story of wind turbines; and in Switzerland, a developer shows how we can use hydrogen to make 'renewable' natural gas for heating.
Told through the stories of entrepreneurs, inventors and scientists from around the world, and using the latest research and studies, The Switch provides a positive solution to the climate change crisis, and looks to a brighter future ahead.


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Introduction Cheap solar changes everything
the experience curve
Predictions and the global switch
New generation solar advances
When the sun doesnt shine
Demand and supply
Battery power
Storing energy as gas or liquids
Epilogue Some conclusions
Figures and terms

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About the author (2016)

Chris Goodall is a consultant and adviser to investors and companies across the fields of low-carbon energy and the circular economy. He is an academic referee for the journal Biomass and Bioenergy and his writing has appeared in the Guardian, The Ecologist and Abundance Generation. He is author of four books on energy and the environment, including Ten Technologies to Fix Energy and Climate, The Green Guide for Business and How to Live a Low-carbon Life. He lives in Oxford.

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