This must be the byword of photovoltaics. Could anything be more out of tune with its age?
Invest big, now; make money slowly, later.
Invest big, now; get nearly free electricity, later.
Invest now, reduce CO2 later.
Work now, sit on your laurels, later.
Even worse: subsidize now, reduce costs for later.
So many things about PV have the form: pay a large amount now (invested money, energy, CO2), get paid back slowly but in a big way, later:
Reward(t) = Slow payback(t) – One Big, Up-front Cost
Just as a reminder of some other things like this, let’s recall the beauty of:
- Bridges and tunnels
- Water supplies from distant sources
- Cars and trucks
- Manufacturing equipment
- Houses and buildings
- Flood control and dams
- Laws and regulations
- Standards and codes
- The Constitution
- Public health policy
Are you vague about standards, codes, laws, regulations, the Constitution being like this? Think of Haiti – think of the costs of building codes in San Francisco, and compare that to a lack of codes in Haiti. Up front cost. Think of signing and living by a contract instead of stealing.
These are the bases of civilization.
If PV is out of tune with our times, we are out of tune with civilization.
We can do better.