Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Miracle before the Menace

If you think that humankind is not moving towards a new photonicly powered world, just take a look at this story from Renewable Energy Focus:

EU sets record installs of solar PV in 2007

PARIS, FRANCE. Installations in Germany, Spain and Italy have pushed the European Union to a new record for solar PV.

Total installed capacity of panels in the EU last year was 4,690 MWp, according to the latest barometer from EurObserv’ER. A total of 1,541 MWp was installed last year, an increase of 57% over 2006 installations.

“The European photovoltaic sector has given a strong signal to all those who continue to doubt its ability to develop,” the report explains. “Even if a large part of this capacity has to be attributed to the dynamism of the German market, an ever larger portion comes from the long awaited rise in importance of new markets” which “took the time to structure themselves well.”

Solar capacity per capita is 8.5 W and, more than ever, the European market remains focussed on grid-connected plants, which accounts for 99.5% of the new capacity. Direct consumption from off-grid connections (remote sites, public lighting, etc) accounted for only 8.4 MW of PV installations last year.

Of the 1,541 MW installed last year across the 27-nation EU, Germany was well in the lead with 1,103 MW, followed by Spain (340), Italy (50), Portugal (14), France (12), UK (3), Czech Republic (3), Austria (3), Greece (2), Netherlands (2), Belgium (2) and Sweden (1). All other countries installed less than 1 MW.

Of the 4,690 MW of installed capacity, Germany still leads with 3,846 MW, followed by Spain (515), Italy (100), Netherlands (55), France (46), Austria (28), Luxembourg (23), Portugal (17), UK (17), (clip)

The capacity of PV cells produced around the world increased by 51% last year, rising from 2,473 MW to 3,733 MWp, of which 29% were produced in Europe, 25% in Japan, 22% in China, 10% in Taiwan and 7% in the US.

The industry provided 70,000 jobs in the EU (40,000 in Germany alone) with annual revenue by the European sector doubling from Euro 5.7 billion in 2006 to 9.2 billion in 2007.

The full report is here.

Just seven years ago, when I wrote Silver in the Mine, world wide capacity of solid state photonic devices was less than 400MW. Now, it is almost 10 times that. At this growth rate, PV capacity will double every 18 months. That sounds a lot like another famous solid state doubling rate.

At this rate, PV production will meet this year's world consumption of electricity in 22 years. (please check my math)

If world consumption of electricity increases at 3 % year during that time, then consumption will double in 25 years.

Meeting that world consumption in 25 years will require about 24 years.

Meeting total world energy needs for all sectors would require another three years after that.
And at what costs?
Somewhere around the same amount of money we put into killing each other.
Sure, this occurs using the miracle / menace of The Doubling Time.

But we are going to need the Miracle,

before the Menace arrives.

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