Solar Electric Plant
The sun setting of the private free market for individual home electric power plants came at the most ironic and unfortunate time. The discovery of the photovoltaic solar cell at Bell Laboratories in 1954 would welcome the dawn of an entirely new age of electric energy. A simple device that converts the light energy of the sun directly to electricity with no waste heat or combustion gases would change the future forever.
The solar panel would have been easily integrated into a farm or wind electric plant as the primary source of energy and extending life expectancy and the potential market to rural and urban markets everywhere in America.
Anathema to the electric monopolies, the solar panel did not experience the growth it deserved for several decades. Unlike concentrated seams of coal that can be owned, solar light energy is distributed equally everywhere in abundant amounts. It is illogical to convert it at one place and distribute it to another place that has the same amount solar energy - simply capture and convert it at point of use. The solar panel is to electric utilities monopolies as the computer is to the typewriter.
Let’s turn back the clock to 1935 and imagine that President Roosevelt knew of the success and promise of farm and wind electric plants and did not create the Rural Electrification Administration. With home electric plant production resuming in the post war years, the solar panel would be compatible and easily integrated into a farm and/or wind electric plant and would have dramatically improved the economics and performance everywhere in the United States. Like the wind chargers, solar panels would become the primary and dominant source of “free” sun energy in a hybrid home electric plant. The effect is to extend the lifetime to 50 years - before overhaul.
In the following decades, subsequent improvements in battery, engine, and computer control technology would have made the hybrid home electric plant an excellent investment for homeowners and businesses. Battery technology advancements would improve performance, extend service life, incorporate sealed and stronger enclosures, improved recyclability, and better charge and discharge control and management. Small engine technology improvements have yielded smaller, lighter, quieter, more powerful, more fuel efficient, longer life, and cleaner small engines with both air and liquid cooling and several fuel options.
Let us imagine that the farm and wind electric plant era embraced the solar panel and modern technology and continued to experience strong growth.
The economic and environmental pain of a fossil fuel economy would drive private individual and business investment in developing solar energy and drive the strong growth today. It is clear to everyone except electric monopoly CEO’s that the steam turbine is hopelessly inefficient and overdue for the scape heap of history - 75% of the fossil fuel energy is dumped in the air and water and only 25% is converted to electric energy. The foundational axioms of the electric industry are no longer true and due for abandonment.