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