What a distributed utility should look like

Too many people look at what we are doing, at Solartown , and assume we are building a solar rooftop EPC company. I am compelled to laugh a little bit at that generalisation.

We have no interest in building a business to make us of a trend in order to just make money. We have every bit of interest , though, to make use of a trend to bring a vision to reality that in turn will benefit mankind enormously.

As I take more and more action in my life, I am compelled to believe that the only cause worth pursuing and therefore by definition, the only action worth pursuing is to help your fellow man.

So performing action with the motive of helping mankind evolve and become better and not be consumed by the consequences of those activities , is our chief motive.

And helping mankind can be done in two or three ways :

a. Help a fellow suffering human’s basic needs – food, water, clothes, energy and shelter  by either

  1. providing him with novel ways of those needs ( creation of new supply )
  2. enabling access to existing sources (increasing efficiency of distribution of existing supply)

b. Help an evolved human (who has the basic needs ) with his higher needs- self esteem , community and self respect ( need for recognition, love and intimacy )

c. solving grave issues or threats that could eliminate humanity as a species ( example : cosmic collision, nuclear war, global warming to such great levels)

d. helping mankind become a much much more powerful and resilient species ( increasing life span, eradicating threats, bio tech, nano tech and cyborgs , AI )

In my philosophy, there is only this fruitful motive to perform actions- to help your fellow man and thereby help mankind become better. Everything else is for pure sensory pleasure which will tire you sooner or later – without that core value or purpose governing your life.

That being said, why are we building SolarTown , if not for money? 
Money is an ultra crucial part of a life well lived.
I am not talking about hoarding money. Once it has covered your basic and higher needs – money can be fruitfully deployed to help others achieve a. and b. or help mankind achieve c. and d.

Every bit of SolarTown does is aimed towards achieving a huge part of c. and a substantial part of a.

What we might do in years 1 to 5 – looks like that we are building a solar rooftop EPC company or rather  – a solar rooftop IPP  but if you see what really drives us is a grand vision for the next 50 to 60 years filled with cutting edge innovation.

Imagine a world, where every man-made surface ( roads, bricks, rooftops , buildings)  that looks at the sun generate electricity , transmits it wirelessly to the ground made of storage ( Lithium ion or vanadium flow) , transmits back to the loads wirelessly, uses a wireless smart mini grid to communicate with all that PV in the surrounding blocks and distributes excess energy to the EVs in each of our homes and offices.

( Note: am not talking about Space based solar ( whose economics don’t work yet) or mini nuclear fusion and fission reactors in this post yet – the dynamics of whom will affect the rest of the power industry significantly including storage and rooftop solar and BIPV )

To put this in perspective as to how beautiful this would be, we only need o.5% of India’s surface at current PV efficiencies to pull of the entire demand with storage. This in turn, would make the grid obsolete for all smaller residential and commercial communities.

Just this has the potential to rid the world of the grave energy and global warming threats leading to impact in the direction of a. and c. , mentioned above.

This is what really drives us. To fundamentally change how humanity generates and consumes energy. And all profits are funelled to achieve that end for mankind.

Solar Singularity

How do we get there?

No masterpiece or monumental systemic change was done overnight. We need to chip away at reality decades together in order for such change to happen.

Even though the timelines and milestones are obscure now for such a grand wireless clean energy vision to come to reality, we will go one step at a time and will not stop until it comes to reality , creating the new foundation of how humanity creates, transmits, distributes and consumes energy,

But step 1 is to get to a scale where we are deploying at the least of 10s of GW per year across the globe.

Simultaneous steps would be the pervasive presence of Li-ion, Electric Vehicles and smart grid tech across the world for managing mini grids.

Such scale and Li-ion or vanadium flow strength would help us look at drastically lowering the $/Kwh delivered to loads of a household to less than 10c / Kwh and when you add wireless charging and discharging from PV on the rooftop, the scale and the tech should become viable for most commercial establishments.

From then on, it is a matter of scale driving it down to make it viable for the residential and commercial establishments.

What about large commercial and large industrial power independent of grid power, you ask?  Different post for a different day – my friend.

About V

Tried building a sky scrapper. Now Re-building it again with worn out tools.
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2 Responses to What a distributed utility should look like

  1. Arvind says:

    I think a renewable powered solar grid is likely to become a reality with the discovery of a new aluminum based battery by Stanford that has a recharge life of 10000 times plus is fast and cheap to make (less raw material cost compared to lithium ion)

    • V says:

      I have my doubts on aluminium batteries as will LI ion mainly due to li ions usage is mainly due to light weight more than energy density . And cost follows swansons law , precisely since li ion is used in all kinds of electronics other than ev

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