Solar energy was once the domain of futurists and environmentally-minded suburbanites. Today it is the epicenter of a storm that is transforming the way we power the American economy.
Beginning in his solar-powered home in New England, Philip Warburg takes readers on an odyssey that ranges from inner-city Chicago to upscale Marin County, from big-box stores to football stadiums, and from New Jersey landfills to the Mojave desert. Throughout this journey, the author profiles the pioneers who are bringing solar power to mainstream America. Social activists and technology innovators are finding common cause with politicians across the ideological spectrum as they advance new ways to tap the sun’s power. Together they are steering America toward a lower-carbon future, all the while creating job growth at a rate that is twenty times the national average.
Warburg balances his celebration of solar power’s ascent with a sober look at the challenges facing this fast-growing industry. Will utilities adapt to, rather than fight, a technology that reduces the role of fossil fuels in supplying America’s electricity? What measures need to be taken to protect vulnerable wildlife at open-desert solar plants? And how can we responsibly manage the waste burden created when billions of solar panels reach the end of their useful lives?
As he charts the policy pathways, economic signals, and technology developments needed to build a vibrant renewable energy sector in America, Warburg embraces local innovation and private-sector initiative as enthusiastically as national policy reform. His balanced reporting from the field presents persuasive evidence of the steps already taken, and the future measures needed, to achieve solar power’s full potential as a clean energy resource—one that will promote local energy autonomy along with American energy independence.
Solar energy is developing very quickly, so it isn’t surprising that a lot has happened since Harness the Sun was published in September 2015. To stay abreast of these developments, check out the “Updates” page for the book.