At the last minute, an opportunity to go to a conference in San Francisco came up. The subject was solar energy development in Chile. It was definitely interesting, and the opportunity for solar energy development was better than I initially thought.
The DNI in the Atacama desert in the north of Chile is amazing, and although the cities there are small, the mining industry makes for a huge embedded electrical demand. What was sobering was how easily the Chilean Ambassador and Energy Minister tossed around the words “energy crisis”, but once they laid out their situation, it’s not at all surprising that they’re looking at renewable energy. (Someone raised the point that the Atacama and Mojave Deserts represent the two best solar energy development regions in the world – lots of sun and close to an electrical demand centre. Hard not to agree.)
There were presentations on the opportunity, and presentations by several solar energy companies, although mostly Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) companies. One question I had was where are they going to get the water they’d need for CST, but no one raised the issue. I overheard one conversation where desalination of sea water was mentioned, although that seems too expensive to be a serious proposal. Interesting conference and well worth the trip. (And did you know that the Morgan family is originally from Chile? That’s right, both my parents were born in Santiago. So I got to practice my Spanish and chat about the old country.)
Also this week, I had the privilege to speak at the Region of Peel Energy Matters Summit 5. I was invited to give a talk about the Sun Simba HCPV system, but it seemed to me that speaking about our products without a context seemed like a waste of an opportunity. So I gave a talk that, at a high level, described our (Morgan Solar’s) view of the solar energy market and some of the current challenges facing solar developers. I enjoyed giving the talk, and met some really interesting and intelligent people there.
There’s no video of the talk but on Monday or Tuesday I’ll figure out how to upload the presentation slides.