2022 was a great year! I made it to some really cool (and hot) places. In the photo above, I was in Dubai and visited a GW-scale PV plant. In the year Y2k there was just about 1GW (gigawatt = 1 billion watts) in the entire world and now I get to see it all in one place. Now there is over 1000 times a GW, which is a terawatt (TW) of solar installed in the world, and that is expected to double in a few years! The difference between a solar farm and a solar park is that a solar park is a location with multiple solar farms that were installed by different entities. Right next door to this GW was another GW, so that makes it at least a 2GW solar park. I did a calculation, and the energy does not even offset the desalination for Dubai, a very high energy place to live. The class I taught was in Abu Dhabi for Masdar, which was on my bucket list for many years. Masdar is the centrally planned renewable energy city (photos) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
On another note, my HeatSpring online on-demand classes are going along great! Here is an article I wrote on the subject for Solar Today Magazine, which is produced by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). Also, on the cover of the magazine is Riley of Solar for Women who took my class and aced her NABCEP exam!
As a segue, ASES is related to the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) and in November, I became an ISES lifetime member plus I helped represent ISES at the big international United Nations COP27 conference in Egypt, where I gave a talk at the Wind and Solar Pavilion, which is on YouTube here. I speak first and answer most of the questions at the end of the video at about 1:06. ISES sits on the board with a number of organizations for the Global Solar Council (GSC). I was there with my friend Madame Mi, who has many different organizations, including the one that puts on the world’s largest solar conference, called SNEC. Here are some photos of COP27. On my way to the COP I also spent a day seeing the remains of one of the most ancient civilizations near Cairo and you can see those photos here. I am a big ancient history fan, and I often recommend the book, Sapiens (I do the audiobook).
On my way to COP, I spent some time in Italy and taught solar to kids at a school where my friend Giulia teaches in Tuscany. They put it in the Italian paper that I went there. After my teaching, the kids were mostly interested in American culture. The first question I got was “how do you cook your pasta”!
And then on another note, related to ASES, is the chapter of ASES that is NorCal Solar. I have been a board member since 2014 and since 2022 I have been president. NorCal Solar has been a non-profit organization since 1974. The activity of NorCal Solar has been victim to the success of the solar industry. In the early days, it was difficult to get a good job in the industry and NorCal Solar gave people a place to organize, learn and recognize others in the small industry. Now that the industry is growing at record pace, it is easy to get a great job. Everyone is super-busy, and they do not have time to join or deal with being a member in a regional non-profit like NorCal Solar, so instead of letting NorCal Solar die, I decided to keep it alive and turn 50 next year. If you would like to be involved with NorCal Solar, let me know! I am planning a meetup event in Berkeley on Equinox, March 20 from 5-7pm. The plan is to see NorCal Solar turn 100 in 2074!
Here are a few other things happening.
1) Finished co-writing PV and the NEC 3rd Edition with Bill Brooks and sent to publisher.
2) Recently hired Brittany in West Virginia to help with the technical material.
3) South and Nycx in the Philippines have been helping run things for years and continue to do great work!