Investing in Solar Energy - Caleb Jones

While I’m not a left-winger, I am a huge fan of green technology and have been for a long time. One of the reasons I’m not terrified of some kind of global climate catastrophe like the left-wing are is because the odds are very high that our current exponential rate of technological growth will solve any serious future climate change crises before they happen.

One example of this is solar energy. For most of my life, solar energy has been a joke. Even back in the 1980s, I went to a science museum where they had a house powered, sort of, by solar energy. The cost of this house was something like a bazillion dollars and the solar power it gleaned was barely a trickle.

Today, things are little different. The cost of solar energy has gone down 86% since just 2009. In some parts of the US, solar is now actually competitive with coal power and other fossil fuels. Wow.

Solar energy is only about one half of one percent of all the electricity generation in the world, but that doesn’t mean anything to me as an investor. All I care about is the growth in this industry. If it’s half a percent this year and one percent next year, that’s 100% growth. 100% growth in my investments in one year is something I’d be more than happy with.

Take a look at the chart at the very bottom of this page here. Notice the shape of that chart. That kind of exponential “hockey stick” growth in solar is what we’re looking at.

There’s another aspect to this which is cryptocurrency. Electricity is about 60-70% of crypto miners’ expenses. Because of this, a lot of these guys are just buying solar panels, which pay for themselves in a matter of months. It’s near-instant profitability for them to use solar.

Moreover, it’s likely that ever-growing governments all over the world are going to force crypto miners to use solar because of their “strain on the grid” or something. Politically and economically, this is a terrible idea, particularly if you’re a libertarian like me. But as I’ve always said, if the West is going to destroy itself, you might as well make some money from it. Imagine what will happen to solar investments when the government forces all these crypto miners to start using solar panels. It will spike upwards again.

As always, I’m not an investment advisor and I can’t tell you exactly what to invest in, but I can tell you that some of my money is in solar, and I expect to make a lot of money from these investments over the next ten years.

18 Comments on “Investing in Solar Energy

  1. As a “libertarian with left-leaning” (if some numnut wants a label for me, that’s what I’m going to use henceforth.) views, I concur with Caleb. I strongly believe that greener and cleaner energy are the future. 

  2. Solar energy is growing exponentially , which is aweome, the unique problem with it, is that you can’t store that energy easily. But with electrical cars becoming a trend, and with the implementation of smart grids, going solar, would be a no brainer.

    For the moment, I think Biomass is what the world bank is investing more, becuase you can store fuel easily.

  3. As a “libertarian with left-leaning” (if some numnut wants a label for me, that’s what I’m going to use henceforth.)

    Libertarian Socialist aka LibSoc. I used to be one, but I’m good with being a regular libertarian nowadays. So I’m the numbnut who is giving you the label you can use 😉

    That graph of solar use is insane. Eyes nearly popped out when I saw it. Like with cryptocurrencies, that’s unusually fast. And also like with cryptos, I’m gonna have to resist the temptation to invest in solar right now. Despite the growth, its speculative.

  4. We can *survive* on renewables even in a post fossil fuel era, but we can’t *thrive* without a return to (safer, newer) fission reactors, and hopefully fusion at some point. Though solar in space would be a whole ‘nother level, admittedly. Renewables are the wet dream of everyone whose vision for humanity’s future is just half a billion people or less who eat grass and never colonize space. They can help slowly phase out fossil fuels, but they aren’t the real deal.

  5. The cost of solar energy has gone down 86% since just 2009. In some parts of the US, solar is now actually competitive with coal power and other fossil fuels.

    Doubt it.  I think you’ve been scammed by the marketing.  The cost of the PANELS may be down.  But most of the cost to homeowners is installation, and to a lesser extent the electronics you need to convert it to usable a/c.

    In very sunny places like arizona it costs out.  In most places you could get the panels for free and it wouldn’t be worth the investment.  As the panels get cheaper (moore’s law, they are similar to microchips) I’ll bet *free* will be the new catchy lure to get consumers to pay up for the huge installation/maintenance expense they’re selling.

    In cloudy Portlandia, you’d be lucky to get 4 months of usable energy.

  6. Solar energy is growing. Electronic cars are growing. The thing they have in common – batteries. Does it make sense to try to invest in the battery business (whatever that means)? One could maybe get a slight idea about that by looking a few years back when smartphones became a thing – the whole industry around small batteries for smartphones must have grown quite a bit in the past 10 years. Was it (with hindsight) possible to make a nice profit from it? If yes, can this be similar?

  7. cryptocurrencies that uses energy intensive Proof of Work for mining might not be around for too long: ie projects like Iota 

    (minor shilling here) From what I can gather, Iota is very suitable for micro transactions ie, trading the energy one gets from solar panels.

  8. Agreed.

    I’m what you’d call a Climate Change Skeptic, I know Climate Change is real BUT I have doubt we are the sole cause of it and the world is gonna end tomorrow. So I’m also not a moron who is believes in allowing senseless pollution.

    Living in California and knowing that this shit is going to take over this state, it’s most def a good idea to invest in.

    Not to mention YES, it will save you money. It’s not just some hippy bullshit.

  9. One of the reasons I’m not terrified of some kind of global climate catastrophe like the left-wing are is because the odds are very high that our current exponential rate of technological growth will solve any seriousfuture climate change crises before they happen.

    Agree. My position on global warming is that it is an example of what Scott Adams calls “The Law of Very Slow Moving Problems” Which is that humanity can deal with basically any problem as long as we see it coming with enough time.

    And global warming is a slow coming problem. Humanity will deal with it just fine. Is not the imminent catastrophe some people claim it is.

  10. @CTV: when you avoid The Guardian and similar sources, you won’t really find climate scientists claiming anything much more than that: that there is a significant anthropogenic contribution, and that there are wide margins of prediction incertitude, where the median estimates clearly indicate long term warming (though not that much and not fast), while the worst of the worst estimates are those that lead to catastrophic conclusions. It’s a good idea to mind the carbon emissions and develop mass carbon sequestration tech (and I tend to think that nuclear, done right, is a better solution that renewables, without having to outright replace them ofc), but totalitarian degrowth isn’t.

  11. In very sunny places like arizona it costs out.  In most places you could get the panels for free and it wouldn’t be worth the investment.

    Yes, now. I’m talking about the future.

    Does it make sense to try to invest in the battery business (whatever that means)?

    Yes but such a thing would be far more speculative since you’d have to be more up to speed on the details of the tech, which companies are “doing it right,” and so on. Therefore I’m not interested.

    I know Climate Change is real BUT I have doubt we are the sole cause of it and the world is gonna end tomorrow.

    My view is that the data does show humans are responsible for some of the climate change, but that we have no idea: A) what percentage of climate change is fully attributable to humans (there is no real consensus on this), and B) exactly how bad (or not bad) such a percentage will harm us in the future, (given that the left have been so dismally wrong about all of their climate predictions throughout my lifetime).

    As usual, both the right (“Global warming is bullshit!”) and the left (“OMG we gotta do something major RIGHT NOW or we’re all doing to die!”) are both full of crap.

  12. Have you heard about solar liquid power?

    its the newest innovation in solar energy, its a lot less exspensive than solar panels and it absorbs all wavelengths of light.

     

  13. Holy God, is Jack’s youtube video retarded. “in the 13.8 billion years that we’ve been on this planet” (and a host of other garbage), oh yeah, the scientific credibility. I’m sure CTV will convert to climate change denialism by watching five minutes of a deeply ignorant man broadcasting his ignorance of basic scientific facts, lol.

  14. Holy God, is Jack’s youtube video retarded. “in the 13.8 billion years that we’ve been on this planet”

    LOL. Age of the Universe: 13.8bn. Age of the oldest rocks on earth: 3 or 4 bn (this is when the earth cooled enough to have a solid crust). Age of genus Homo: maybe a million or so. Humans? 100k, tops.

  15. The people over at Palisade Research have been recommending investing in lithium miners as a way of getting ahead of a electric car boom. Not quite the same idea, but it’s reasonable to think that a surge in affordable solar power could fuel a greater demand for electric cars.- https://palisade-research.com/lsc-lithium-corp-the-most-attractive-play-on-lithium-right-now/

     

    I’m not connected with Palisade in any way. I like their contrarian thought process and Austrian themed investment advice, but from what I’ve seen almost any stock they recommend (usually a nanocap mining stock with operations in unstable countries) is highly volatile, i.e. be prepared for a 50% loss in a month if you follow their advice.

     

  16. Caleb,

    Do you think renewable energy use will be able to grow to have a substantial market share on a global level?  Renewables currently account for only about 1.5% of global energy use*.  They are growing, yes, but not really gaining market share since energy consumption is also growing.

    In 30 years, can you envision renewables accounting for say >20% of global energy use?  I don’t see this happening myself.  I think solar and wind are limited in their potential and spending more money to develop these technologies will have a limited benefit.  Nuclear has tremendous potential, but large social stigma.  Fossil fuels are likely to remain the energy heavyweight for decades to come.

    * source = pdf page 10 on this link:

    https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/en/corporate/pdf/energy-economics/statistical-review-2017/bp-statistical-review-of-world-energy-2017-full-report.pdf)

     

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