Monday, February 7, 2011

SunShot: Our Generation's Sputnik Moment?

Sometimes I read an article about Steven Chu and it makes me want to be best friends with him in a totally non-creepy way. All I'm saying is I wouldn't mind having him come meet some of my ex-girlfriends just so I can say that we are best pals now.

Nerdiest rap reference EVER.
The most recent example of badassery is him publicly coining the term "SunShot":
Just as President Kennedy pledged in 1961 that the United States would land an astronaut on the moon by the end of that decade — a moonshot — Dr. Chu said the United States should attempt a “sunshot” by aiming to cut the cost of solar power by about three-quarters by the end of this decade, to $1 a watt for utility-scale projects. That would translate to an end-user price of about 6 cents per kilowatt-hour, he said. “That would make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy without subsidies of any kind,’’ he said in a conference call with reporters on Friday.
By making solar cost competitive without subsidizing the technology, you are effectively changing the entire energy landscape of the United States along with the rest of the world. People want to have cleaner energy, but cost will always be a constraint to the adoption of cleaner technologies.

Admittedly this is not a terribly long article and the point is fairly straight forward, but it is important to recognize that this was not just some political statement that someone said in passing. Shortly after Chu dropped this statement, the Energy Department pledged $27 million towards solar initiatives - not something that the government would do lightly.

Now sit back, relax, and revel in how awesome my photoshopped picture of Steven Chu is.  I'll be here all week.


  1. You can home solar power anywhere as long as the place you live in is sunny and has no obstacles or buildings in the way. So make sure that if you get a solar panel kit that you have a sunny place that you live in.

  2. Right. I agree with that.

    However, I still believe that bringing the price down to produce solar components is the most important thing.

    With cheaper prices, if you live in an area that doesn't get decent sun exposure all year round, you still can have the option of buying a cheap solar panel to provide energy to your air conditioning during the summer months, which would greatly reduce your energy bill.

    Obviously that doesn't do much for people that live in the shadow of a skyscraper or some other unmovable object, but then they still may have the option of obtaining their energy from a solar field that has been made possible through cheaper development prices.