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Solar Revolution: The Economic Transformation of the Global Energy Industry Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0262026048 ISBN-10: 026202604X Edition: 1st

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Solar Revolution: The Economic Transformation of the Global Energy Industry + Solar Electricity Handbook - 2014 Edition: A Simple Practical Guide to Solar Energy - Designing and Installing Photovoltaic Solar Electric Systems
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; 1 edition (July 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 026202604X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262026048
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,330,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Everyone who wants to understand the permanent energy answer that can reverse climate change, eliminate oil shocks, and avoid future Chernobyls should read this book. Bradford builds a compelling business case that solar energy is the most disruptive technology in history."--Denis Hayes, Former Director, U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory



"Deeply researched... hopeful." Bill McKibben New York Review of Books



"Every American who pays or knows someone who pays an electric bill should read Solar Revolution." Cecil Johnson "Business Bookshelf, " Fort Worth Star-Telegram



" Solar Revolution is an essential read because it analyzes the transformation of the global energy economy. The market will drive the new energy economy, and solar is already a growing and influential player. This is a positive vision of a sensible, practical, sustainable energy future." Bill Richardson , Governor of New Mexico and former U.S. Secretary of Energy



" Solar Revolution makes a powerful case for a disruptive shift in the energy marketplaceushering in a post-fossil-fuel age. Where others despair in the face of "peak oil" and out-of-control climate change, Travis Bradford sees a unique opportunity to create a clean new energy economy." Christopher Flavin , President, Worldwatch Institute



"While the book is a bit technical, even a solar-novice can learn plenty about the past and present of solar energy, and what may be in store for the future." E-The Environmental Magazine



"*Solar Revolution* makes a powerful case for a disruptive shift in the energy marketplace -- ushering in a post-fossil-fuel age. Where others despair in the face of 'peak oil' and out-of-control climate change, Travis Bradford sees a unique opportunity to create a clean new energy economy."--Christopher Flavin, President, Worldwatch Institute



"*Solar Revolution* is an essential read because it analyzes the transformation of the global energy economy. The market will drive the new energy economy, and solar is already a growing and influential player. This is a positive vision of a sensible, practical, sustainable energy future."--Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico and former U.S. Secretary of Energy

About the Author

Travis Bradford is President and Founder of the Prometheus Institute for Sustainable Development, a nonprofit organization in Cambridge, Massachusetts, focused on using the power of the business and financial sectors to deploy cost-effective and sustainable technologies.

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Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Still, the book does read somewhat boosterish for my taste.
Craig Matteson
And if you're real skeptical, follow up on his references and annotations of which there are plenty!
Johnny Cheng
The Solar Revolution makes an incredibly compelling argument for the future of solar energy.
White

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Stephen C. Baer on February 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a clearly written short book with good news about photovoltaics by someone familiar with economics and business. Although its title is Solar Revolution, there are many aspects of solar energy in which he shows little interest and this makes the prospects for his revolution depressing. Here are the basics of the solar revolution as he sees it.

The revolution's goal is to overthrow the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power, but all without returning to any of the traditional uses of solar energy that supported mankind through history. We abandoned Mother Nature's solar teat to suckle on giant bottles of fossil fuels. Now the bottles are going dry and we want to return to solar, but it's got to come in bottles, be electric, be synthetic. Bradford's concern is the preservation and continued growth of our use of electricity. When you stop to consider that electricity is a means to an end and not an end in itself - as, for example, water or food - this is a puzzle.

Our appetites expressed through the market place are too slack for Bradford, the revolutionary. Although he claims to wish an end to subsidies, it is hard to believe him. He greatly admires Japan and Germany for their fanatical government-directed drive for photovoltaics. On September 1, 2006 Sharp electronics, a company singled out for special praise by Bradford, ran full page color picture ads in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. They boasted that their Kameyama plant "features the world's largest solar energy system".

A glance at their building shows they use no skylights. They cover every inch of roof with PV panels. The walls have few if any windows. The building looks like a giant sealed-off, above ground termite nest.

The Japanese and Bradford are confused.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tom D VINE VOICE on June 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This should have been a magazine article in the Economist, not a book. As other reviewers have explained, this is about photovoltaics and only photovoltaics (PV) and even at that it's limited. True, other energy sources are mentioned, such as hydrogen fuel cells, but they get about half a page.

It would be better titled "The Estimated Economics of Photovoltaics." But even at that it's weak. Photovoltaics come in many forms from rigid structures to concentrators to flexible fabrics. Only round numbers are used, such as, "In the case of photovoltaic modules, the cost to produce them in the late 1970s was around $25 per watt but has since dropped to less than $3.50 per kW,..." (p, 109) But there's no mention of the applicable configuration.

Some things are footnoted, like "Various forms of solar energy have been used since prehistoric times." But others, like Figure 7.2 where today's PV costs are shown at $6 per watt are not. And the $6 per watt in Figure 7.2 hardly correlates with the $3.50 quoted above for production costs. Yes, I know one is production cost, the other presumably installed cost, but even that isn't clear and an installed cost that's 1700 times production cost deserves some explanation.

I couldn't find one reference to actual PV conversion efficiency, yet there are statements such as "Even at today's efficiency of PV cells, the land required would be 10 million acres, or 0.4 percent of the total land area of the United States." Perhaps the efficiency assumption is buried in the primary documents but it should be shown here since it's pivotal. I didn't notice any reference to the fact that today's PV's degrade over time. PV efficiency and life is fundamental to PV economics.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By W. Nichols on November 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent overview on economic potential of Solar. This book is optimistic that Solar's inherent scalability...low maintenance and power will make it the choice to replace much, it not all fossil fuels in a few decades. The devil is in the assumptions, the reader must assess if they agree. The next several years will confirm or disprove the assertions. Note: Figure 5.6 on page 111 is actually 5.5.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful By D. Miller on December 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great look at the actual costs of electricity generated and delivered through a wide range of channels. Based on sound economic principles, the book illustrates how solar power will become competitive in price to fossil fuel-generated electricity in the near future (years, not decades).

Is it convincing? Suprisingly, yes. The reasons why the #'s fall in favor of solar in the near future have a lot to do with the distributed nature of solar power (no added transmission infrastruture costs), and the fact that solar power is generated most easily during the time of day when electric loads peak.

Check it out and see if you agree with the author's analysis. If so, our future is going to be a lot greener than many of us would have thought.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sorin Grama on September 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a well-written, well-researched book comprising a wealth of knowledge and statistics on traditional and renewable energy sources. Even if you know nothing about solar energy, you'll find this book fascinating and informative. With energy becoming such a hot topic these days, the book will give you an excellent background on a wide range of energy resources along with a captivating story about a possible future alternative. Highly recommended!
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