- 7 Market and Investment Opportunities in the Emerging Clean-Energy Infrastructure
“Solar Trillions is a tour de force! Seba’s book is a must for everyone who wants a clear understanding of clean energy.”
Steven R. Wilson, Ph.D., Multi-Lateral Investment Fund, Inter-American Development Bank
The Energy industry will make $382 trillion over the next 40 years. In this seminal book, technology strategy guru and visionary Tony Seba reveals market opportunities worth at least $35 trillion of that vast market by 2050. He shows why solar is the only clean energy source that can scale to meet global needs—and explores the disruptive characteristics that make solar technology inevitable.
Just as the PC revolution transformed computing while creating a new information-based economy, the clean energy leaders will turn the energy world upside down, creating a new energy economy while creating untold wealth for the entrepreneurs, investors, and countries who win the race. This c
lean-energy revolution is not in the future. It has already begun. Now is the moment to join—and create wealth while helping to save the world.
“Solar Trillions is exactly what our civilization needs right now.”
– Garrett Jacobs, VicePresident, Landbank Investments
Here are the seven amazing opportunities he explores—and some equally amazing facts about energy.
Opportunity 1: Utility-Scale Solar: $9.0 trillion
- To provide all of America’s electricity today, solar power would need a single 100-by-100-mile square of desert. This is less than 10% of the land that the oil & gas industry uses in America today.
- Most of the solar energy will come not from photovoltaics but from Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), which collects the sun’s heat with precisely focused mirrors and uses it to run turbines.
- A European consortium is raising half a trillion dollars to develop CSP plants in the Sahara that will power both Europe and Africa. much of the continent.
Opportunity 2: Industrial-Scale Solar: $7.1 trillion
- Data centers are the aluminum smelters of the information age. Data-center energy consumption is expected to reach $250 billion per year by 2020.
- Spain’s Gemasolar is a CSP plant with 15 hours of energy storage. 24/7 solar power is here—and can reliably run those data centers as well as many factories.
- The cost of solar will drop to 3-5 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2020—cheaper than subsidized coal.
Opportunity 3. Island/Village-Scale Solar: $2.6 trillion
- Hawaii pays up to four times the electricity rates on the US mainland—and more than twice the going rate for photovoltaic (PV). Sunny islands around the world regularly go dark because they can’t pay their diesel-fuel bills.
- Half a billion people in 500,000 villages in India alone are not connected to the grid. Two billion people around the world get their energy from kerosene or diesel at rates up to 10 times today’s PV cost. But solar PV doesn’t need a grid.
Opportunity 4: Home/Commercial Scale Solar: $8.7 trillion
- There are more than five million commercial buildings in America. These buildings receive solar energy greater than the energy they consume.
- With building-integrated PV, solar will be part of the fabric of office towers, stores, and homes: photovoltaic walls, windows, roofs, and bricks. Soon, buildings won’t just sit there; they will make money for their owners, selling that energy back to the grid.
Opportunity 5: Solar Clean Water: $1.5 trillion
- We will hit peak water before we hit peak oil. The aquifer that supplies water for a third of America’s food supply may dry up within two decades.
- Solar energy on 1 square kilometer (less than half a square mile) of desert land is sufficient to desalinate 165,000 cubic meters of water a day—with zero carbon pollution.
- Many parts of the world are already facing a severe water crisis. But most of those regions are the ones with the most sunshine falling on them.
Opportunity 6: Energy Storage: $5.0 trillion
- Up to 30% of power produced by coal and nuclear plants (and wind plants too) is wasted because they can’t store the energy they produce during off hours.
- Solar thermal (CSP) is the only generating technology that can store energy in cheap, environmentally safe batteries today.
- You can “fill up” a battery electric car for about $5 today. BEVs are 5+ times more energy efficient and 5+ times cheaper to maintain than gasoline cars—and battery prices are inexorably coming down.
Opportunity 7: The Smart Grid: $6.5 trillion
- The average transformer in America is 42 years old—our grid is falling apart. We have to replace the worn-out, obsolete grid with a computerized, decentralized twenty-first century infrastructure.
- The eBay of electricity is coming. Homeowners will not only be able to sell energy back to the utilities from their own solar installations—they will sell it to each other.
- The smart-grid network layer (the “Energy Internet”) may be 10 times larger than the existing Internet.
The world will need trillions more watts of power over the next four decades. Only solar power can fill the bulk of that need. Trillions of watts, trillions of dollars. Solar Trillions.
Watch Tony Seba being interviewed on TV about “Solar Trillions” and “Solar Energy Business Opportunities”