Its quite easy to slip into philosophical thoughts when considering solar power. What is purer than living off of light? How much closer to the source of all that is could you make yourself? Maybe the Egyptians and their Ra were onto something…
In the United States, we see solar polling high across a range of questions, from 2/3 of Americans wanting a national new home rooftop mandate, to 89% wanting more solar farms. There’s not much in the world that polls at 89% outside of playing in the grass, puppies and kittens, and apple pie.
And we’ve got to wonder why everyone “likes” solar so much.
My argument is that it represents some of the fundamental nature of the universe, and that this nature has formed a similarly fundamental piece of the fabric that makes up the socio-economic model the United States of America deployed.
From a universal nature, and go with me please, a single solar panel, an electron, a human and the ideas of a free society seem to have much in common. We individuals, like these electrons acting as particles, exist within a broader society, like a wave of electrons. And your solar power panel, living as these electrons move through a circuit while feeding these individuals moving through their highways, also finds itself within a broader power grid.
Little tiny pieces coming together to become grandeur.
Sub-atomic field interactions into elements, into particles of dust, then rocks, and stars, and planets, and solar systems and then us. Then we as single celled organisms, who organize into complex creatures, which in turn make themselves into families, and tribes, and cities and nations. Those who come together, those particles, those people who build those families into a country that protects them. And from here we all grow.
When the founding politicians of the United States of America came together almost 250 years ago – they had ideas similar to these. Ideas of inalienable individual rights, ideas of giving persons the ability to achieve their happiness. But they still had reality, and the fact that they needed to bind together to survive – because those around them would take what they please otherwise.
And so together, they founded states, levied their own taxes, fought together, died together, and came to a hard accepted conclusion that they must give up their pure individualism to create a nation. To protect the weak and strong, to be an electron in a wave, a net metered residential solar project at the end of the cul de sac sitting at the grid’s edge.
And that’s why we love solar power.
It’s clear the parallels to life of the increasing complexity of solar cells, then modules, and strings, and combiners, and inverters, transformers and the power lines of our grid. It ties to us in that there’s also the life giving individualism of self generation – of your home being a fortress. Of many homes being a nation. There is the retaking of the economic power from the monopoly electricity generators. There’s helping those around you, cleaning their air, because you care for their health. If only because you care for the health of the state with ideas that help us, but more broadly because you’re a human.
And so, for me, solar power has much potential. Its nature is fundamental, and because of that, like vines growing from the dirt, its influence will start small, and slowly work its way up. Into your home, into your car, into your work, remaking the global politico-energy hegemon, and giving a small piece of the might, the power, back to the people.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own, and do not necessarily reflect those held by pv magazine.