EDITOR'S NOTE: Danny Kennedy, the managing director of the California Clean Energy Fund and co-founder of Sungevity, keynotes The California Renewables Rush conference in San Francisco on April 6. He made available to readers of The Energy Times the following excerpt from his book, "Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy—and Our Planet—from Dirty Energy."
Why Solar Will Win
I believe that everyone is going to go solar because it’s better—not just better for the pocketbook, not just better for the planet, not just better for jobs or the economy or security but because it’s the best idea ever—better than the wheel and the automobile and human flight and Google.
The idea is spreading that solar power is better than fire. It provides the services we get from fire without burning stuff first. This reality is catching on and will soon be ablaze. Indeed, I believe going solar is a shift in what it means to be human. It’s our next big step.
So far, evolution’s great achievement was getting past eating raw food that we could “hunt and gather” and instead cooking it so that it wouldn’t spoil and therefore lasted longer. Humans’ lives improved by leaps and bounds with that one change. And with a cooking fire we could also warm a cave, change our habitat, and light up the night, which changed our lives for the better. And then we used our ability to light fires to boil water to make electricity. And in many ways that has made our lives better still. Fire is good. And fire in a wire, as an electric current, is even better—no local pollution, no smoke. For many billions of people, it’s a blessing. Besides warming us, cooking our food, and lighting our way in the dark, electricity allows us to travel on trams and trains and planes, entertain and educate ourselves, and even connect with our friends using social media. The amazing thing about solar-panel technology is that it allows us to do all of that without boiling water first.
This book is about change—how that next evolutionary step will come to pass, the economic and social drivers that will make solar use commonplace, the businesses that will cause the Solar Ascent to happen, and how you can help bring about these changes. I’ve seen the worst of the “fossil-fool” economy, but I’ve also seen the potential of solar while starting one of the fastest-growing companies in the sector, which is the fastest-growing sector in the economy. And from all I’ve seen, what I know is this: We need the Solar Ascent. We need solar advocates, activists, entrepreneurs, and consumers to bring about this change. And who are the revolutionaries who will lead the charge toward sustainability, health, and prosperity? In one big powerful honest word: us.
Let’s do this!