Saturday, November 8, 2008

Some States Already Transitioning to Alternative Energy

By: John Kuzniar

Recently when asked "What is the best currency in the world to own right now?", billionaire Warren Buffet replied, "Not the u.S. dollar." It was recently reported that supermodel Gisele Bundchen refused to be paid in U.S. dollars, because of uncertainty over its strength. She instead, asked to be paid in euros. In his new music video for the movie "American Gangster," best selling rapper Jay-Z flaunts the euro, not the dollar, to showcase his wealth. The examples above speak volumes about what many people with money, lots of money, think about the value of today's dollar. And many of them are beginning to hedge their bets with respect to the dollar. But what does all of this have to do with renewable energy resources? If the dollar continues to be weak against other currencies, it will produce many unpredictable side effects. But one side effect that is almost certain to happen is a rise in the prices of traditional energy resources. All imports, but specifically oil and gasoline, will become more expensive. The days of $1.20 a gallon for gas are probably gone forever. Grid Parity and Energy Prices Grid parity is the point at which it becomes cheaper to produce your own electricity, from photovoltaic cells using solar power, than it is to buy it from power companies off of the electrical grid. As energy prices rise, more and more people will find themselves reaching grid parity. Until very recently, the prospect of a community reaching grid parity any time soon seemed like a remote possibility. However, as energy prices have risen, some places in the U.S. have already reached that point. As of 2007, Hawaii has reached grid parity with the peak charging rates. Parts of California, particularly Northern California, have reached gird parity as well. As energy prices continue to rise, in large part due to the dollars devaluation, we'll see many more communities reaching grid parity. But there is also an inverse price relationship happening with solar power and oil. As the price of oil slowly increases, the prices of photovoltaic cells are slowly decreasing. Companies are becoming more efficient at producing solar cells thus enabling them to be sold at lower price points. In addition, the solar cells themselves are becoming more efficient solar collectors, which let's the home or business owner save even more money. And, of course, other factors pushing us towards greater uses of solar cell technology are the looming worries of global warming and the pressing need to decrease greenhouse gasses being released into the atmosphere. Are corporations betting on solar power? One such company, SunPower, which makes photovoltaic panels for businesses, expects to pull in over one billion dollars in sales next year. Solar Power Inc. had revenues of over 8 million dollars in it's third quarter alone. Solar power companies in foreign countries such as Germany, Japan, and China have ramped up their solar power production facilities dramatically in the past few years. For the past several years the U.S. has been borrowing money with reckless abandon. We have a national debt of over 9 trillion dollars. Now, the rest of the world is slowly deciding that they no longer want to bankroll us. For us, that means a continued low valued dollar and increased energy costs.

Alternative Energy © 2008. Template by Dicas Blogger.