Who are the little guys working in their pajamas that are going to usher in the new era of clean energy? The last NEXT BIG THING was ushered in by people like William Hewlett, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, and Bill Gates. At the time they were little guys working in their dorm room or their parent’s garage. In the novel Ecotopia a young girl goofing around on her farm in Northern California invents the breakthrough fuel cell. But energy technologies are fundamentally different from information technologies in many ways, starting with the second law of thermodynamics. Developing new energy technologies is not the role of little guys in garages. Applying new energy technologies is the role of little guys in garages. Only this time it is going to take thousands of them, not just a handful.
Renewable energy is an inherently decentralized resource. It doesn’t lend itself to concentration. Smaller applications require smaller developers, if developer is even the right term for them. These are the folks who will be replacing the garage tinkerers of the computer age. Instead of developing new technology they will be figuring out how to apply already existing clean energy technologies in all the varied applications.
We developed the HOMER software for these people. There are many different ways to deploy clean energy technologies but most of them involve some kind of hybrid system. This industrial revolution won’t have a Model T. It will be more like the Lego building blocks.
We are constantly amazed at the innovative ways that our HOMER users think about combining clean energy components into hybrid systems. Frankly, many of them will never work, but some of them will. A few quick HOMER runs on the computer can eliminate the uneconomical ideas and begin fine-tuning the promising ideas.