Technical Details and Background

Here we provide some technical background concepts, thoughts and references that can give the web site user some insights into the organizational, technical and economic strategies and methods that we will use to meet our long term goals.

One of the primary organizers of our venture, Robert Van Buskirk, researched and performed clean energy policy analysis and economics at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for 16 years.  One conclusion of that research is that rural solar applications in Africa provide a very good context for clean tech innovation.  This is because rural Africans are paying very high prices per unit energy the little electricity that they can get (through batteries or diesel generators).

This is described in the paper below which describes a "Moore's Law of Energy Efficiency."

The paper states: This memorandum argues "that long-term technology planning and roadmaps, which set expectations of progress and define a set of technical performance and cost milestones over a period of one to several decades, can be forceful drivers of technological improvement and change."

What we are doing in our venture is creating a private sector version of this long term technology road mapping process.  But this time, we are defining "efficiency" in terms of lives saved per dollar invested rather than service per unit energy input.  This lives saved metric that we use in our venture is a rather non-traditional social impact type of solar "energy efficiency."  Specifically we are looking at the efficiency of a solar home system with respect to reducing poverty, improving lives, enhancing health and reducing mortality.  If we can expand beyond the narrow conceptual confines of simple 'energy efficiency' and progress to a more general concept of 'integrated human welfare efficiency' then it is this latter concept of efficiency that we can use measure technological innovation progress in rural Africa.


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