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I’ll be speaking at the IEEE PV meeting at Xerox PARC at 7pm on Feb 11

I’ll be speaking to the IEEE Santa Clara Valley PhotoVoltaic Joint Society Chapter, at 7pm on Wednesday, February 11 (refreshments and networking are from 6:30 to 7).

Please join me if you can! There’s no charge and no registration is necessary.

Details about the talk.
More information about the IEEE SVPVS.

Here is the abstract for the talk:

Rapidly accelerating adoption of solar energy is urgent. A recent article in Nature suggests fossil-fuel exploration should cease globally and that only one-third of known reserves should be burned to limit catastrophic damage from climate change.

This urgent need is not widely recognized or understood because the situation is new, dramatic, complex, and countered by well-funded lobbying and media interests.

Technically literate people must address this chasm between reality and perception. Only we can grapple with spurious “research” findings and partisan media assertions, and only we can translate technical jargon into understandable content. We also should recognize that in order to cast doubt onto findings that challenge vested interests, scientists and science itself are under attack.

How to bridge this chasm by communicating with less technical people, is the focus of this talk. Technical people are persuasive to those who share the desire for rigor, but we are often much less able to persuade ideological people who lack tools for assessing the validity of quantitative conclusions.

The focus of this talk is on communication. Whether you agree or disagree that climate change poses a threat, or that solar power is the best or only way to deal with it, I believe you’ll find the communication strategies intriguing.

Lots of good things: Meet great people, partake in free refreshments, and collect a copy of a book on climate change in the US I’ll be handing out (free of charge)! I hope to see you there.


PS: If you’re not familiar with the IEEE SVPVS, the speaker series is (almost) always on the 2nd Wednesday of the month, same time, same place. Previous speakers are here.

I taught Palo Alto’s Solar Power 101 Workshop 5/17/2014

I teach this 2.5 hour solar basics workshop periodically for the city, to introduce solar mostly to homeowners considering rooftop solar, though the workshop is open and free to everyone. Palo Alto runs its own utilities, so some elements of the workshop such as the net metering rules are Palo-Alto specific, but most of material is relevant to everyone in PG&E and other territories.

The PDF slideset is here. The slides will show up on the Palo Alto site soon, and I’ll add that link here then. Many thanks to Palo Alto Utilities Lindsay Joye for sponsoring the workshop and for her great knowledge on all things Palo Alto. For example, she let us know the excellent news that following the completion of the Palo Alto Green program, which allowed residents to pay ~10% more for 100% carbon-neutral electricity (ended because now ALL PA’s electricity is green) a similar program for natural gas will be begun.

I want to deliver similar workshops to other municipalities to help encourage their residents to consider solar.  Please Contact me if you’d like me to speak in your area.

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.

Solar Truths and Myths and Questions

“I don’t think we live in times that are particularly kind to objective information.” Bob Howarth, Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology at Cornell, said that in 2013 in the movie Gasland II.

Steven Chu, in a 2010 interview in the San Jose Mercury News, said, “Americans were believing [in global warming] because of sound bites, and now they’re disbelieving because of sound bites.”

Fox News solar reporter Shivani Joshi said in Feb. 2013, as the news ticker on the lower third of the screen predicted the imminent death of the solar industry,  that the reason “solar is working out great for [Germany]” is “because they’ve got lots of sun, right? They’ve got a lot more sun than we do.” (Germany receives less sun than anywhere in the US other than western Washington and Alaska, and barely half the sun received in the western half of the US.)

French philosopher and economist Guy Sorman wrote in 2011, “If California were to rely on solar power for its electricity consumption, the entire state would have to be covered with photovoltaic cells.” (In truth, Mr. Sorman was wrong by 50,000%!)

Though everyone has heard a lot about solar, it’s a complicated topic and hard for most people to separate out truth from fiction, news from noise, valid statistics from bogus claims. Vested interests are threatened and their voices are ubiquitous and amplified in our extraordinarily partisan, dollar-driven times.

I will post truths, news, and statistics here about solar and other energy-related topics. If you’d like to know something about solar, or are just wondering how you might participate in “the solar revolution,” Ask a Question or Contact Me.