Up | December 08, 2012
>>> the experimental solar panel is designed to power a center.
>> it will generate up to 1,700 watts of pure energy into the controller system. it will take that and put it into a high energy lithium battery .
>> that's a publicity clip from the department of defense about the dream products they've been deploying.
>> yeah. i talked to some marines about this. not one mentioned greenhouse gases . every one of them loves these things because it's just purely a utility for them. it's purely an advantage for them. the connection i was going to make is they're working in austere conditions in the front lines in afghanistan. if we're right about climate change, post-sandy new york is another set of austere conditions, there's a lot more conditions in the world where you need portable, self-contained electricity generation .
>> another driver for the department of defense , their interest in renewable energy isn't just the green. it's also concerns about sigher security. i think installations want up the ability to island systems in case of an attack they're not completely down.
>> the sort of resilience question gets to the work you're doing in places without electricity, right? i said this earlier on the show. it's a remarkable thing how much you take electricity for granted and then it when it goes away everything about your life is entirely dependent on it. i guess my question is if you put a solar panel in a village without electricity, what happens if six months from now it breaks or there's a problem with it? it seems like this could be a recipe for this kind of brief period, this brief renaissance and then going back and forth?
>> the solar panel is not likely to break, but what you need to take care of is long-term maintenance with the battery. if you're using batteries to score electricity, there are some applications such as water pumping which do not require batteries. in this case you are pumping it to the reservoir which is what we use with the project. if i could just quickly, you know, elaborate a little on the project because it's pretty remarkable how far a little bit of energy goes. in this case we were asked to go and provide power for an entire community. we developed this whole village model where we use electricity for lights at home but also for the clinic, the school, street lighting , for water pumping and microenterprise and wireless communications . in this particular village when we did a needs assessment what was clear was their number one concern was food security . during the six-month dry season from november through april, there's no food production , no rain and malnutrition is widespread. we simply combined solar water pumps, pumping water from an underground aquifer and a river and feeding a drip irrigation system, which is allowing these women farmers we're working with to grow high value fruits and vegetables year-round. you go back to the village and they're well-fed and earning income with the produce they sell to the market. we have a model providing access to energy, but water and food and income and women's empowerment.
>> i'm just wondering when you think about telephone, the developing world kind of leapfrogged the u.s. in terms of the poles and water to mobile. do you see the same thing in energy?
>> these folks in africa went straight to 21st century technology. wireless power , right? they're bypassing the distribution lines. you don't need to run transmission lines to the victim a villages. wherever the sun shines you can generate power for whatever you need.
>> it's worth emphasizing if they go the other way, if they go the central fossil fuel generation and big transmission line model in the developing world , we are toast.
>> and there's also costs to even if you don't do that, the kerosene that you talked about and diesel generators and even wood stoves, which is a whole literature now about wood stoves and the environmental havoc that wood stoves are reeking. there's a lot of different ways to get power that aren't necessarily this huge distributed power system that have pretty intense environmental effects. what do we know now that we didn't know last week? my answer is after