“2013 was a banner year for clean energy and the U.S. solar industry was no exception. California, the nation’s solar standout, more than doubled its rooftop solar installations last year from 1,000 megawatts (MW) to 2,000 MW. To put this number in perspective, writesBernadette Del Chiaro of the California Solar Energy Industries Association, it took California over 30 years to build the first 1,000 MW of rooftop solar.
And California isn’t alone in its rooftop solar surge. “About 200,000 U.S. homes and businesses added rooftop solar in the past two years alone — about 3 gigawatts of power and enough to replace four or five conventionally-sized coal plants,” Bloomberg reported.”
I may have just started a minor pissing match on Twitter with a brief comment about energy independence:
“I look forward to the time when oil prices collapse under the grip of energy innovation. Hope it happens in my lifetime.”
On the one side you’ve got the hard money types who think that fiat money is worthless and that you should just buy hard commodities and hide out in a hole reading scary websites. And on the other side you’ve got the optimists who think fiat money is just a tool of exchange that can actually help us break away from our dependence on energy through innovation. I don’t know which side is right in the near-term, but I am not one to bet against humans and their ability to innovate.
The energy innovation boom is only just beginning. Who will win and lose in the next 10 years is beyond my understanding, but it’s exciting to think about all the potential benefits that could arise out of a world where oil is no longer holding so many people hostage in so many ways. I for one am hopeful that I get to experience that world. If nothing else, at least I hope to experience it in a solar powered wheel chair.
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.