The Sun Keeps Shining
Updates on Large-Scale Solar Energy
Welcome to this third biennial issue devoted to the integration of large-scale solar energy. Once gain Ben Kroposki, of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and a member of the IEEE Power & Energy Magazine Editorial Board, has assumed the role of guest editor and, together with Kevin Lynn of NREL, did yeoman work assembling the five articles that comprise the issue. And continuing with our stated goal of attempting to present a global outlook in each of our issues, the articles presented cover solar activities in the United States, Germany, and Japan.
Recent years have seen dramatic declines in installation costs as more systems have been installed, and this has followed a typical learning curve. As of 2011, the cost of photovoltaics has fallen well below that of nuclear power and is set to fall further. By one estimate, total investment in renewables for 2011 exceeded investment in carbon-based electricity generation. Additionally, governments have created various financial incentives to encourage the use of solar power, such as feed-in tariff programs. Indeed, a most promising venue.
In This Issue
Ben Kroposki and Kevin Lynn, in their “Guest Editorial” column, offer a detailed overview of the status and development of solar energy that is required reading for the full understanding of the industry as well as the opportunities and challenges that it is facing. In that column they also present the five feature articles in this issue and offer perspective on each. At this juncture, allow me to offer the titles and authors of those articles. In the order they are presented they are:
- “Bright Future” by Paul Denholm, Robert Margolis, Trieu Mai, Greg Brinkman, Easan Drury, Maureen Hand, and Matthew Mowers
- “PV Measures Up for Fleet Duty” by Chris Trueblood, Steven Coley, Tom Key, Lindsey Rogers, Abraham Ellis, Cliff Hanson, and Elizabeth Philpot
- “Absorbing the Rays” by Steve Steffel and Alex Dinkel
- “Time in the Sun” by Jan von Appen, Martin Braun, Thomas Stetz, Konrad Diwold, and Dominik Geibel
- “A Good Fit” by Kazuhiko Ogimoto, Izumi Kaizuka, Yuzuru Ueda, and Takashi Oozeki.
The “Awards” column of our issue is one that I relish publishing each year. It features the names of IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) members who have been elected IEEE Fellows, the highest grade in the Institute and one that is bestowed by the IEEE Board of Directors after a very rigorous vetting process. In any given year the maximum number of members who may be elected is limited to 0.1% of the IEEE higher-grade membership. I was delighted to find that 34 PES members were elected to the Class of 2013, which was a significant increase from recent previous years. The new Fellows and their citations may be found in the “Awards” column. Congratulations to all!
A Successful Quest
Our issue’s “History” authoring is just a bit different than our usual columns but is no less interesting. History Editor Carl Sulzberger describes the quest that he went through to ascertain what happened to the three working scale models of Edison’s Pearl Street Station that were built in the early 20th century. Fortunately, Carl’s tenacity and knowledge enabled him to discover all three, and his story of that search makes for great reading.
A View from the Solar Future
Our concluding “In My View” column has been written by Julia Hamm of Solar Electric Power. I find it to be one of the most interesting “In My View” columns that we have offered; it is amusing, informative, and extremely well presented. Its very title, “From the Year 2032,” sets the stage for a future view of what Julia sees for the solar power industry. Agree with it or not, I urge you to read it and perhaps offer commentary that I would be pleased to share with our readers as a future “Letters to the Editor” column.