Monthly Archives: April 2014

Stanford Guest Lecture on Solar Myths and Truths

I gave a guest lecture to Stanford University’s Solar Energy Conversion (EE 237) class which covers “Basics of solar energy conversion in photovoltaic devices.”  Whether a student wants to create a solar technology startup, work as an employee in an established solar organization, or do something completely unrelated to solar while maintaining an interest in local, state and federal policy related to solar, an ability to combat the well financed, partisan anti-solar misinformation campaigns is crucial to our environmental, health and economic progress.

In my talk I tried to describe and debunk some prominent myths regarding solar, and to discuss a few psychologically-oriented approaches to refuting myths.

Abstract for the talk:

There is great variance in the knowledge and opinions held on the state and prospects of solar power in the US. Recent headlines range from “Solar energy could supply one-third of power in U.S. West” to “If California were to rely on solar power for its electricity consumption, the entire state would have to be covered with photovoltaic cells,” and from: “The world must shift to solar and wind power rapidly to avoid catastrophic global warming” to: “Renewables ‘Sound Good’ but Should Take Backseat to Coal.”

Doug will work quantitatively through selected solar claims, and will suggest tactical approaches technical people should consider in order to be effective during discussions with non-technical people.

Slides (PDF) for the talk are here. If you have questions or comments or would like me to speak at your venue, Contact Me or Ask a Question.

My sincere thanks to EE 237’s Professor Aneesh Nainani for inviting me to speak.

The Joys of Driving an Electric Car

I presented “The Joys of Driving an Electric Car” today to the EcoGreen Group of Silicon Valley ( The slideset (PDF) is here.

Introduction to the talk:

There are obvious environmental benefits of electric cars, such as reducing reliance on imported oil. There are also many not-so-obvious benefits to owning and driving an EV. This talk will compare environmental, economic and experiential benefits of owning and driving an electric car versus a gasoline-powered car.

Electric Vehicles are related to solar in two fundamental ways:

  • Solar enables 100% clean-powered transportation
  • Energy storage (eventually) will enable solar to be our dominant energy source, and EV batteries will (eventually) be a major source of storage.