Here Comes The Sun

Here Comes The Sun

2008, Environment  -   43 Comments
Ratings: 7.23/10 from 56 users.

Here Comes The SunIf it were up to the sun, we would have no energy problem. Every half hour on the Earth's surface, there is more than enough light to provide energy needs for the whole world in a year. We don't have an energy problem, we have a conversion problem. If we are able to harvest sunlight in smart way, then we can prevent a global energy crisis.

That sounds nice but that does not mean it will succeed, at least that is what many different bodies want us to believe. It's too expensive, takes too much space, too much material, it costs more energy than it brings, and it is still not efficient enough. While all these doubts play a role for solar energy in the distant future, it is still a marginal player in the global energy game. Back-light takes the edge off these myths and shows that a solar economy is much closer than we think. Next year, there are already rolling Giga Watts of solar cells on the conveyor belt. The industry has mastered the technology and the machines.

Radical German government measures have proved that it is possible. Villagers have completely installed solar power on empty lands. Power stations contribute to the network and where they are deserved. Many countries follow the German example: The Americans have their Grand Solar Plan and the French President Sarkozy is talking about a solar plan with the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. According to the Spanish electricity producers, oil companies will be left out. So what energy crisis? The sun is coming!

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6 years ago

Can someone tell me about the sun`s radiation and how it affects us, and how we can use the sun as a energy form

9 years ago

I've always had a negative outlook towards Earth's future, with all the big multinationals only wanting profit and with the oil companies have all the power in the world. But after seeing this, it changed the way I see the future. This, together with Moore's Law, solar panels will only cost approx. 3 cents (€) per KWH around 2040/2050. Which will make things really interesting.

10 years ago

This is by far the best documentary I've watched on Solar Energy. I googled 'Here comes the sun' and found this video. Perfect!

The future looks brighter thanks to this visionary. George Harrison would be pleased about the title I reckon.

10 years ago

So there is hope... for Mother Earth

11 years ago

Great Documentary, Black gold is going to be left for any other process that doesn't consider getting it burned . I think Solar Tech in 10 years from now is going to be way cheaper as well as battery technologies are getting every year more efficient in order to be able to store our produced energy in a cost effective.

11 years ago

Its funny cause the german government just dumped these programs because they were a sink hole and completely unsustainable without total sponsership by the tax payer. Its a pipe dream.

11 years ago

fantastic presentation all that is required to understand this doc is simple common sense which is i feel these days is becoming un common is that you cant just depend on diminishing resources when you can harness unlimited resource with the technological development we have to day and which is bound to increase as an evolutionary process but i just would like to know the facts about the pollutants that would be produced in making these films do we have any study on that can some one share

11 years ago

To bad that it does not mention the dependency of rare metals for the production of solar panels. not only will it cause a scarcity on a resources that is more limited then oil but it will also stimulate the largest exporter of it, china!

12 years ago

This doc fails to mention the devastation that solar projects cause to the environment. When solar projects are developed, the land must be completely cleared of plants and animals, and ultimately become a true wasteland. You may assume that animals will simply adapt to the new environment they are placed in, but this is not the case. Many animals die in the process of being relocated because they are placed in a new habitat that they are not familiar with. Not to mention the environment will take hundreds to thousands of years to rejuvenate.

Seeing fields of solar panels makes me cringe because it is so inefficient to take up that much space. Solar panels should be everywhere BUT undeveloped land. First and foremost, put solar panels on whatever structure there is: warehouse, home, business, etc. If more space is needed, construct vertically, not horizontally! This industry is booming so fast that they are just going to take the easy way out by destroying the environment.

Those of you in the United States who want to make sure solar power is developed with the environment completely in mind, search Solar Done Right and the Desert Protective Council. These groups are making an effort to get solar panels on roofs and developed land.

12 years ago

My friend is a Geography teacher and seems to think that nuclear power is the best way forward to solving the energy crisis. The obvious problem is the disposal of the waste. His solution and as I understand it, the solution of many serious believers in nuclear power including our governments is to dispose of the radioactive waste in lead containers buried in very deep pits in the earth. Should any leakage occur at these depths the claim is that there will not be huge damage to the ecosystem and habitable environment. Do you agree? If so, why? If not why not?

Flying radioactive waste into the sun or into deep space in just not cost effective at the moment due to the massive costs involved with sending objects into space, between $10,000 and $40,000 per kilo. If and when it is constructed, the space lift could bring the price down to $100 per kilo (source CNN). A vision for future waste disposal?

Concerning solar power my question is this:

Given the rising oil prices and the reduced cost of solar power due to increase in technological innovation within the solar power industry. Do you think that we will ever reach a cost parity between oil and solar power? If so when?

Loved this documentary. It creates a shining vision of the future, fuelled by the life giving and glowing solar orb.

12 years ago

I find it interesting that throughout the documentary it brings up: Government regulations (mandates for private companies), government subsidies, government owned "commanding heights" (power companies in some countries are owned by the government), and government laws (forcing people or "incentivizing" them to use solar power)... And we wonder why it's being so successful??

If solar power had not gotten any of this favoritism would solar be what it is today? No one can say for sure, but I can certainly say there would be more competition (as government picks the winners instead of the market) and there would be more choice (water, wind, nuclear, etc.)

I feel when I watch this documentary disgusted at the intrusion of government into making choices for us - regardless of how noble they may be (don't get me wrong green energy is a great thing!)...

12 years ago

Thirty years ago I helped my grandfather install solar panels and the neighbors thought he was a nut job...but one panel was enough to heat the water for a four bedroom farm house. He also had a ten acre pond and built a dam that powered the lights. He used a wood burning stove his whole life too. The initial start up costs were huge and objectively speaking he never lived long enough to reap the benefits but the guy who bought the house appreciated his work thats a certainty. My grandfather was really keen on wind power too, but sadly he was too old to follow that project through. If he was alive today, i know he would just shake his head at the mess we are in now. Years ahead of his time. It's those damn start up costs and most people move around too much and worry about them too much to bother. Just like the electric car, tidal power, solar's the only prudent way to go, but it's exactly why the powers that control oil have a vested interest to suck us sheepeople dry that it probably will be years before we pick up all the dropped balls and wonder wtf took us so long.

12 years ago

Hi Moe,

Good to read another one of your comments. It may be best to start moving this discussion to email. At the heart of it, it is still about energy generally - and solar energy in particular. We are chatting about how that may be incorporated into the *social* fabric of society. That is what is lagging far, far, FAR behind the technical and technological capacity we have to harness the sun's energy. I'm not sure if that many people have followed our discussion in that way. Move to email?

In any case, you will have to provide me with your email address so that I can forward the letter I sent to the politicians in the national parliament here in Australia. It is too long to do a copy and paste into 'Top Documentary Films' here. If you prefer, you can send me an email requesting it. My gmail address is 369[dot]tommo[at]gmail[dot]com. My other email address is tom[dot]livanos[at]sustainableforlife[dot]net

You are right. It is refreshing to communicate with someone who knows where I am coming from. That is true for all of us.

What I meant with regards to being alive was this: in a universal sense, it shows that love (an outcome of health+peace) is a greater force than hate (a most effective destroyer). It is not only in everyone's interest to love rather than hate. It is in *each* one's interest to love rather than hate.

Okay, yes, the Earth does have a carrying capacity. To use an extreme number, 700 billion (instead of the present 7 billion or almost) can not cohabitate the planet. You are right - nature always has its limits. Even with solar energy, there are still limits. We are in a lucky situation where the sun can, quite easily, meet our current energy needs each year. We can't take that for granted though. It doesn't matter how vast the resource is, it still has its limits. Unless we respect that, we will be destroying ourselves.

A side note. Currently, we are destroying ourselves. We are burning fossil fuels (which take hundreds of millions of years to develop) and burning them each year. It is only a matter of time before the depletion catches up with us. Not only that, as the process of extraction gets more and more difficult, fewer and fewer people can do it. Not only *that*, as the process becomes more difficult, it causes greater damage to other parts of the environment. Did you know that oil tankers spill oil all the time? It happens daily. As we are moving into 2011, it is happening on a daily basis. Part of the reason is the places which they go to. Remote. They go in, load up and back out again to take the oil to the rich countries.

Thanks for realising something. Health and peace are indeed simple concepts. They are also the ingredients of happiness. Not only that, when my neighbour has health and peace, it significantly increases my ability to have health and peace. Health and peace are what keep us alive. This is why love is a greater force than hate. Visualise it. Visualise your life if you went around full of hate. Then visualise it if you went through it healthily and peacefully with others. This distinction is what people do not see. *That* is why hate trumps love on countless occasions.

"If he takes my bread, I won't have anything to eat"

NO! As long as you are not sacrificing your health in giving up the bread, then what are you sacrificing? You have your health for crying out loud. You have your health. You have it. With it, you can do what you want to do. What is more, if everyone else has their health, you are even MORE able to do what you want to do.

I hope you can forgive a little proselytising here. I will be one paragraph only. Considering how much I have written so far (I invite everyone to send me an email requesting a copy of what I have written to the politicians), I am asking for one paragraph as a sort of breather.

You know, people do their big university degrees, get into big business, make it big in politics, go for the big houses and the big cars. They just keep going for more and more and more and more and more and more and more... The whole thing is ass-faced. The vast bulk of people forget that health and peace is what it is all about. What it has ALWAYS been about. It never seems to even figure in their life. In their activities - and I'm not talking about a weekend away. I'm talking about LIVING IT. Having it front and centre each and every moment that you have been given as a living, breathing human being. *THAT* is what I am talking about. THEN we will see ***LIFE*** rather than this consumer-focused, masochistic, ultra-mechanised society which is sick from the inside out.

Haaa... Haven't done that before. I think you will know where I am coming from. Not sure if I have addressed all the points which you made in your comment. Let me know if I haven't. Send me an email and I will be only too happy to forward you what I have sent to the politicians (I assure you and everyone that it includes no proselytising).

Thanks for your time. Once again, health and peace :)


12 years ago


Glad to hear from you Tom. I was looking forward to your reply. I read it a while ago and been meaning to reply sooner but I have been distracted with other things. But now I am back. As for agreeing, I have spent so much of my time having disagreements with people when I meet someone that I agree with I make it a point to show it. Most of the people I disagree with are partly educated, if that, about the topic we disagree on. It is very frustrating especially when they wont even investigate. Not saying I know it all but if I don't know something, I don't speak so I don't make a fool of myself. I learned that lesson the hard way a long time ago. It was a lesson that took some time to learn and incorporate lol. As they say, experience is the best teacher. Now, if I find something interesting, I will investigate it and learn about it.

Now about hate, I understand what you are describing and those things do play a part with breeding hate. But I was talking about how much easier it is for hate to take hold of people. Taking a while to think about it, perhaps it depends on the circumstances of the culture at that time and it's influences. That would make more sense and hence make my opinion subjective. Lots of things to consider. (Don't worry about the spelling, I am a decent speller at best and an excellent speller when I use spell check lol)

I would very much like to read what you have sent the politicians. I don't have any confidence in political leaders. In their world money is king. So even the good ones have little power if any at all. Taking a wild guess but I probably would agree with most of your e-mail lol. I know my reply to your comment is kind of late. Hopefully you still have it.

I would say the billions on earth shows that the human capacity for reproduction and the persistence we show to survive is more powerful then hate lol. But you also have to look at it in this fashion. We live in a closed system. A finite planet. If love = a larger population and we continue to grow, we will use up our resources and then all hell will break lose in a mad dash to get what there is left. So I wouldn't equate how many people we have to love because an overpopulated planet will lead to a lot of problems that one could call hate when considering the implications of what would happen when there isn't enough to go around.

Having ones patience tested when you hold views like ours is an understatement lol. I do understand your position about love. If more people held similar views, what a world we would have. But to me, as I hinted on in my previous paragraph, life doesn't = love. At least not to me or rather, how I see the world today. I see it in a spectrum. It ranges from people like you where you don't have to be around long to know the love you have to people where you are afraid to be around because one wrong word, gesture or nothing at all will give them cause to hate or do hateful things. In terms of the sun and the new ways we are learning to harness it's energy, you get no argument from me there. It seems like every other day I am reading something new about the ability to gather the energy in a better way.

I would say the problem is our culture and we are victims of it. We do also hold personal blame but that is another topic all together. As you have probably guessed, I am not the quitting type either. Love, compassion, empathy, I do believe those will get us further the hate, greed and selfishness. We just live in a time where the latter is rewarded.

Health and peace. What simple concepts. I do believe we tend to complicate things when it's the simple things that we really require and would want if we didn't have the noise of today's world. At least in the industrialized/commercialized world.

Looking forward to your response and hopefully that e-mail you sent to the politicians.

12 years ago

YAY renewable Clean and cheap energy! About friggin time me thinks! Nice one vlatko, excellent docs as always!

Tom (
12 years ago


Thanks for the reply.

I have been away from my usual home recently and accessing the Internet was, for a while, a very low priority. Your message was one which I did have on my mind.

May I say one thing regarding agreement. It has almost developed a bad reputation in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. If agreement is the state of affairs, people (as you have shown) ought to feel comfortable stating they agree. There is nothing wrong with that.

I have even seen a third person come in 'over the top' in an online message exchange and call one person (who has agreed with another) a wimp and lacking in any moral or emotional fortitude. That astonishes me. You and I know that it is the third person coming in who is the wimp and lacking in any sort of fortitude. It is unfortunate that I feel the need to say this but, these days, agreement needs to be given some room to exist. Not saying that disagreement is bad. In short: neither one should be sought after or avoided. We are all unique. The foundation of mutual respect is that we are unique but there are some human things (air, water, food, shelter) which we have always needed, need and will always need. Love as well.

This brings me to the big thematic items which I raised and which you took me up on. Greed is pervasive. Rich people, with an arithmetically non-sensical amount of wealth, are getting richer. The pool of non-renewable resources which is supporting that wealth is getting smaller. That is what non-renewable means. This is feeding fear which, in turn, feeds more greed at the individual and national levels. The "that's not my problem" mentality is driving an astonishing volume of behaviour. I will even say that this breeds hate. First from victims. They muscle up some violent fight back, fight back and then that feeds the hate from the other side. Who started it? Well, we may as well ask who started history.

Correct me if I am wrong but, if this is what you are alluding to with hate trumping love at the moment, then I accept that. Maybe I even agree. What prevents me from agreeing completely is that I know I am not perfectly knowledgeable. In fact, it is *certain* that there are billions of actions occurring in the world at the moment and I have absolutely no knowledge of them. The media filters things for its own benefit. That could be driven by greed (and then hate) but it doesn't mean the world is the way they say it is. You do have the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as civil wars. There is also a war between Krygystan and Uzbekhistan (I may have the spelling incorrect) going on right now.

I have just addressed, by email, every last politician in our national Parliament here in Australia. I have given them my reasoning for why the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were misguided and ought to be stopped immediately. I am happy to forward you (or anyone else) what I have written to them. I have already forwarded it to everyone on my contacts list and encouraged them to contact political, business, academic and legal leaders to heed this message against war and for sustainability.

That is background. I speak of love and hate, not as they exist in late 2010. I speak of them as universal concepts. Both are. We are all capable of love. We are all capable of hate. I come back to a basic point. We, you me and the other billions alive on the planet at the moment, are alive. That tells me that love is a more powerful force than hate. If hate were the more powerful force, well, life wouldn't exist. It wouldn't. Hate is as destructive as you can get. Hate is a destroyer of everyone and everything. Hate doesn't make sense in the end because you destroy the things which you yourself need to live. We are alive. We are living. Right this very moment. We are alive. There have been countless times when hate has trumped love. The fact that we are still here though means that love, in the end, is the winner.

To digress for a moment, I do sometimes feel my patience tested. Not with you. I have thoroughly enjoyed our exchange to this point. In my life though, I have had my patience tested. This thing about love though really makes sense to me. I have questioned it from many, many angles. It comes down to the fact that I live. The 20th and maybe the 21st centuries may be the most destructive ever. Still, knowledge has come a long way. Both in terms of volume and an astonishingly long way in terms of accessibility. I, a non-expert at the moment, can inform you (also a non-expert) that enough sunlight reaches the surface of the Earth in hours to meet our energy needs (even with all that stuffed up greed) for a year.

I agree, the problem is us. That comes in the form of pessimism, belief that you can't make a difference, greed, hate... I won't do it. The right thing, love, is more powerful even than the easy thing. I love it. I would rather die than stop trying. Effort *does* yield results. It is the only thing which can!

Health and peace. That is what it comes down to. I first heard it from an elderly man in a European village a couple of years ago. He didn't have the distractions of a USA President or the chairman of an S&P500 company. Just saw it as it was. Health and peace is what we owe our very existence to. Every single one of us.

I rest my case your honour! :)


12 years ago


I am glad we have that in common Tom. After reading your previous comments I was sure you were that type of guy but I wanted to make sure you knew I was as well.

I also know the feeling about being a cog in a large machine. I am in that situation right now as I type this. One of the benefits here is I am able to read and watch documentaries as I work. So I am constantly learning new things or becoming more aware of things I have learned. Silver lining I guess.

I agree with what you said about jobs. More to the fact that is exactly how I see it. Your work is doing the things you enjoy or want to do or feel you need to do. Self fulfillment, as long as you take care of your priorities. Being generalist and knowing a lot or even a little about many different things is the way to go. While I was reading your reply, I couldn't help by keep smiling and thinking to myself this is someone who gets it. Education and how it's poorly done, jobs and being self-sufficient. You didn't leave me much to talk about in those subjects. I find that very refreshing. What I will say is all angles must be considered. People may not want or be living in an area where it is feasible to grow their own food. Here is where different thinking comes in. Today a lot of people look at cities as being inefficient, clumsily assembled and dirty. For the most part that is spot on. Cities in their current set up are make shift. A city should be fully constructed from the ground up with the possibility of add on designed from the start including everything from transportation, homes, etc. With that kind of planning at the start, it would be easy to set up communities that can be either self sufficient or relying on modern methods of ways of doing things.
I would agree it depends on the people. People are generally products of their environment. Here lies the biggest obstacle. The indoctrination of people. Race, religion, nationality, class. Remember I said it would be great to eliminate the artificial boundaries that divide us. I would say peace and war, love and hate. Funny you would say what is more powerful. I have often thought about what is more powerful out of love and hate. As of right now I think hate is more powerful. It is easy to hate someone and you can get that feeling fast as to where love takes time. You can hate someone you use to love and it is rare to love someone you use to hate. Now with peace and war, you would think peace would be more productive. But if a country is far stronger then another, peace is a luxury at their discretion. Take america (where I live) for example. They spend 895 billion annually on the military. That is more then the next 27 strongest militaries budgets combined. 26 of which are our allies. Which begs the question why spend so much? I would say because our national defense is really national attack.
How you define local communities and the idea of the infrastructure goes back to what I said how we have to consider all angles I again think you were spot on about needing a general objective first. Again you leave me with nothing to say because I am in agreement. I don't believe in perfect answers in regards to the topic. Your answer is more then adequate. The reason why there is no perfect answer is because things change and what was once a good answer may become obsolete. The best answer is to allow for new solutions to come in fluidly as the situation and variables change. If you know your goals, if they are to live healthy, peaceful lives you do as best you can to obtain them as constructively as possible. Just to let you know I don't have any delusions in being able to live in this world of possibilities I've been describing. But I do have kids and possibly I will be grandfather or even a great grandfather one day and what I describe is what I would want for them.
I never put solar, wind, wave etc in a vs position. My stance was using all of them in combination. And the abundance of energy we would get in doing so will always trump using just one alone. As far as the technical difficulties, we waste so much energy and resources on junk. The example I gave with the american defense budget is an easy one to criticize. If we were to focus our energies and resources for things like this instead of finding more efficient ways of killing each other we would have solved so many problems. And one last time I completely agree with you when you said in short, we either change or die. Anything else would be a complete waste.

Tom (
12 years ago


To take your last point first, I took no offence in anything you said and am pleased to read that it is likewise with you. I intended and intend no offence to you or anyone else in this discussion. In addition, I personally like reading what other people have to say.

Let me turn to the point about jobs, humans and machines. If productivity is measured in terms of number of cars, computers, bricks etc. maunfactured or books printed or textiles woven then it is unequivocal, machines make human activities more productive. As you say, machines also increase/deepen the level of drudgery and repetitiveness involved in the work. Again, unequivocal. I have personally worked as a cog in a wheel at an enormous call centre and on the bottom wrung of a gigantic bureaucracy. Sanity doesn't stand a chance in those places which is why the staff turnover is so high. Even there though, I identified ways in which customer service could be improved, along with job satisfaction. I agree with you 100%. Work, as it exists today, is an insult to human intelligence. Thinking and ways of thinking, as you say, is key.

Here is a sideline. In my eagerness, I was quick to jump to it in my previous message and, looking back, hardly explained it that well anyway. A part of the changed thinking for me, is changing how we see work itself. If all your energy needs are being met, you know how they are being met (so you can fix anything that goes wrong), you grow enough food for yourself and those around you, you weave your own clothes every few years, understand (or maybe even build) your home (and some non-builders I know have built remarkable homes), you are self-sufficient. Work for you may be doing some teaching or playing in a band so you can pay for the travel I am talking about and an internet connection. With time, you can learn how those things work as well. I am talking about multi-skilling. Work and education being like twins in the same fundamental process.

Getting rid of money is a fine goal and one I am 100% with you on. That will take time. If that time is used on educating, it is time well spent. We can all be our own scientists. Learn how our bodies work, learn how shelter is made, learn what contributes to comfort, learn how to travel, learn how plants and animals live.

Quadratic equations may be good for 0.1% of the population but they are higher learning and have no meaning unless you have the basics as a foundation. Basics learned through practice! Not on a chalk board and via an end of year exam. That is education to serve a limited number of property/business owners in the Industrial Revolution. It has nothing to do with education in a genuine sense.

So, I agree with you 100% about machines and productivity. What I am (atleast attempting..haha) to point out is that we can change our thinking about what it is that constitutes work itself. We can redefine it to include exertion which results in directly sustaining our life. No money needed. You grow your own orange and eat it. Done. Finished. Plus, you have your vitamin C for the day :) I, for one, like the idea.

Definition of a local community. Hohoho! Okay, here goes. Once the number of people gets too big to know everyone on a first name basis, it is no longer local. I can, and do, know 50 people on a first name basis. I don't know 50,000. Bureaucracy is a problem. Once you start needing bureaucracies, decision makers are not in contact with those being impacted by the decision/s. Not sufficiently anyway. Its hard to put a particular size or scope to local because it depends quite a bit on how much information individuals within the community can absorb.

It also depends (I would say far more) on how many want to live peacefully and how many are being driven by vengeance or hate etc. Now, I stake my life, salvation and soul (if I have one) that peace is a more powerful force than hate. Hate makes everyone lose in the end and if hate was the stronger force, life would last five minutes and then die. The fact that we are here discussing it means that peace has been the more powerful force throughout the ages. It is also why I don't bother so much with the mass media.

Well, if I had to put a definition on what is a local community, having said what I have said, it would be something like "a community which is capable of dealing with its own problems so that all can continue to live healthy, peaceful lives". May not be a perfect answer. In fact, since I am human, it is definitively imperfect. What I can say is that it is an excellent question. You are the first one to ask me that. I give you my thanks. I'm leaving specifics about infrastructure out at this stage as I haven't thought about it and think that first, we need a general objective. What are your thoughts?

I think in the context of what we are talking about, solar vs wind vs tidal vs geothermal is a lesser question. Briefly to repeat, I support anything which is renewable and non-polluting so I'm not against any of them. I rank solar ahead of the rest because, as far as I know, it has so much more and such astonishing potential. Most cities are near water in the form of rivers rather than coastline. Even on the island continent of Australia where I live, the major cities are built where rivers enter the sea. Transporting electricity is, at the moment, inefficient. Even if it is improved, nothing beats using the electricity in the place where it is first generated. I am not against space collection but it suffers from the distribution problem as well. In any case, enough sunlight reaches *the surface of the Earth* in a matter of hours to meet our energy needs for a year. It took years/decades to establish the infrastructure we now use, we may not have time to create a portfolio. I do know that the more rapidly we shift to thinking to sustainability, the better off we, and our descendants, will be. That is unequivocal and that is - without a shred of doubt in my mind - what we ought to be focusing on now, in November 2010 and beyond. If we don't become sustainable, our species will - by definition - die. What then is the point of anything else we achieve/have achieved?

Tom (
12 years ago


Just on the question of jobs, I have one thing which I would like to add. By having everyone (or as many people as possible) aware of how the energy convertion technology works, management of the planet becomes astonishingly more sustainable. The reason is that you eliminate the need to have a big business, a large government bureaucracy, a large not-for-profit organisation etc. managing the resources. In turn, it means that local people can see when something goes wrong and correct it virtually straight away.

Humans have one ability which machines don't: flexibility. No comparison. Sure, humans may become more productive with machines. That depends on the nature of the process. Does it occur all the time or is it once every few months/years? You can not completely eliminate the human dimension and I think it is foolish to try.

I think that, now with the Internet, it'd be brilliant to have local communities managing their resources locally and be able to communicate with other local communities on what is going on. The other thing people could do is to travel to other communities (with renewable energy transport) to see and contribute to things in other places. That would be cool.

See my previous posts under this video for just how awesome the power of the sun is. Everything else is a derivative of the sun. It is therefore less powerful. Wind, tidal energy, hydro, geothermal etc. Sure, they are renewable (to an extent - to an extent especially with geothermal). They are also non-polluting so I have no objection to them but solar is really where it is at with me.

There is another aspect to the sun which I like: accessibility. Whether you live in landlocked Austria or open sea Japan or Australia, you have access to the sun and storage is only getting better and better. No-one can block anyone else's access to it. Distribution can only go so far before the energy is lost. This is why local communities knowing how to manage the resource locally is important - no matter which way you go. Parents will pass the knowledge on to children... In short we can, if we want to, have everyone live peaceful, healthy lives from the time we make things sustainable.

12 years ago

I love stuff like this. Clean energy. It isn't just solar, it's tidal, wave, wind and geothermal. Using these in combination has such profound potential. Not only in supplying energy but when used in different ways, tidal can actually be used to oxygenate water. With this abundance of clean and practically limitless energy, there would eventually be no need to pay for it going by the supply and demand model. We have to get away from our old ways of thinking. Everything comes down to what is profitable. We live in an age where many things can and has been automated, and the human work force keeps deceasing. One need only apply the logic of a growing population, people living longer and less people are working due to technological advancement. (unless you want to include the sweat shop/slave labor in other countries, and that's only that way now until the technology becomes cheaper) It is easy to see (for me anyway) the likely scenario that will come about if we hold on to our old ways of doing things. Looking at the abundance of energy we have at our fingertips, not only do we need to transition into using them because they are clean and sustainable, we need to transition our ways of thinking into sustainable practices as well.

It has become a cliché for politicians and everyone else to talk about jobs. People have to wake up and realize the reason why jobs are such a problem now. It is because most are really not needed anymore. In a phase, technological unemployment. Sadly and understandably people can't see past their immediate needs. Even these jobs that would arise from the clean energy movement (which won't offset the jobs being lost today anyway) will eventually fall victim to the trend of automation which has proven to be far more efficient then human labor. There are so many jobs that serve no real purpose other then to provide means for people to survive. And a lot of those jobs barely do that.

I know I kind of went off topic but I see this as all being connected. And like one of my favorite games, chess, the more moves you see ahead, the better you can prepare for them.

12 years ago

For Tom.
Hey, thanks for answering. So the basic idea is that it could cause some cooling but nothing of importance because it would be replenished in hours. We just don't use as much energy as I thought we would if it's really just a few hours of sun for years of use. I wonder how much square footage of panels you need to get that tho. On a discovery channel series called "the colony", they had about 3 solar panels that could not even last them the entire day for using machinery like electric tools so when I imagine a factory surviving off of it - how much footage do they need to dedicate to panels - would it be the size of a parking lot. More reading for me I suppose but nice to see someone answer that thought directly.

As for fossil fuels people are talking about - in college I was with a guy that worked in the alaskan oil fields. His boss told him we had enough oil there for the entire world for over 100 years so I'm not sure it's all going to be as quick for conversion once they open up the supplies completely. Oil isn't as dire as they say in other words so I wouldn't expect a conversion just yet if he was serious - this was supposed to be insider info the guy spoke up about during an economics class. He explained how they are sitting on reserves and don't really talk about them since this country is so dependent on oil but has their secret stash that's bigger than some know.

12 years ago

@ Tom

We are lagging behind the technology. Our economy and infrastructure has a big momentum and to divert it inevitable takes time.

The most important will be the developing nations. Years back I watched a debate between representatives of large nations such as India and England. Developing nations argued that sustainable clean technology is more expensive than fossil fuel based and that it is their right to have rapid development. To me it seamed that they actually have an advantage and choosing to develop infrastructure that is obsolete is a mistake that everyone will pay for dearly.

Hopefully this shortsightedness can be overcome. All developed nations should contribute in order for everyone to make a transition to clean energy.

Glad to hear that you are pursuing sustainability. I myself want to have a solar power plant. Someday... Best of luck to you.

12 years ago

Very good documentary. This technology is developing rapidly. Examples are pv paint and plastic pv panels that are produced for fraction of the cost of silicone ones.

Also it is being implemented in to legislation (in EU anyway). All new buildings or ones that will be reconstructed that require a building permit (99.99 %)* will have to use minimum 25 % of energy from renewable resources.

Solar is only one option albeit the most promising one. By 2020 solely zero energy buildings will be constructed. This means that it will produce as much energy as it consumes. Considering that something like 40% of total energy is used in buildings it will make all the difference.

Here comes the sun!

Tom (
12 years ago


The first thing I would say is that I think of the solar panels on houses. The shading which they create prevent sunlight from reaching ceramic tiles, concrete slabs, thatched roofs etc. I know enough about photovoltaics to know that only some of the light/heat arriving from the sun is harnessed by the panel to be converted to electricity. The rest remains as raw heat.

You have a point - to a degree. In many places, especially during winter, you want as much of the sun's heat warming the building as possible. After spending over ten months now studying the subject, I know that architecture has a way, way bigger impact on this than what shading caused by the installation of solar panels does. Consider this also, whatever is converted to electricity rather than left as raw heat is not lost. You can use that electricity to warm a living space - and be 100% green about it with a free, renewable resource. In addition, near the equator, you can use the electricity to cool a living space. That is what is important in those areas.

Have a look at my previous comment (numbered comment 5 above) in relation to the potential of solar energy. I'll repeat it here. Enough solar energy reaches the surface of the Earth in a matter of hours (some even calculate it to be minutes) to meet world energy consumption for a year. Jacob M has a point. That is not the reality now. If we were to invest in it though, that gives an indication of how powerful it is. Getting to your point: the amount of heat/light we would be absorbing would be so microscopically miniscule (in the 0.000...% range) that the risk of global cooling/dimming is non-material.

The sun is a beast. In terms of volume, it is something like 330,000 times larger than the Earth. I dare you to mess with something which is 330,000 times your own size.

12 years ago

One thing I've always wondered about harvesting solar energy. If there is a certain amount of sunlight that does not get used now and currently drops to the earth or onto plants, doesn't that mean that if you encapsulate it and take it away from the ground/air/plants that you also take away the heat it leaves behind? Could we cause a global cooling by harvesting that energy in mass - that's been my lingering question. It's the difference to me in a pool that's in the shade and one in the sun. The water in the sun is warmer so I know it transfers into heat. Take away the sun or just overshadow it with our "absorbers" and...

13 years ago

Jacob M: I wanted to reply.

You are right. Now, in August 2010, solar panels are not as efficient as they could be. Yes, they are also expensive for the average wage earner who is paying the rent or mortgage and groceries every week.

The question is: what will the situation be in August 2015? August 2020? August 2025? August 2030? The answer: it depends upon how much people like you, me and others watching this documentary let the benefits of solar power be known to people. Those benefits are: there is *no* pollution, it could be developed to meet our needs *thousands* of times over, it will last for *billions* of years, the sun is accessible to everyone...


Jacob M
13 years ago

Unfortunately this seems a little biased. Solar Panels aren't very effecient, and they are expensive to make if i am not mistaken.

13 years ago

From a personal perspective, it was only at the beginning of this year (2010) that I learned of the incredibly awe-inspiring potential of solar energy. This, for me, was the major hindrance to applying it. I thought that no matter how well we utilise it, we are simply consuming too much to have it meet our needs. How wrong can I be?! In a matter of hours, enough solar energy reaches the surface of the Earth to meet our current energy needs for a year. I was so dumbstruck by this that I had to do the calculations myself - and it is true.

In other words, instead of using an energy source which is more than sufficient for our energy needs and will last for billions of years, we are using an energy source which is not sufficient for our needs, does us damage and takes millions of years for the Earth to create. I mean, I knew that greed was corrosive to humanity but this takes it to a point where the mining giants ought to be forced to eat their resources or something!

To: normal. I wouldn't be too pessimistic. I wouldn't be too optimistic either. The difference between this scenario and Tesla though is that here, hundreds or thousands of individuals are aware of, and are working on, the technology. The roll-out has already started. It is more a question of when rather than if and yes, that does depend in part on the extent to which the vested interests can get their way (and yes, that will further impact on the planet) but, in the end, solar will win.

Great documentary though. If anyone wants to back a winner, you can't go past solar.

13 years ago

Take away the Greed that fuels the need for large profit from this equasion and it might just work.
Or we could just use the electricity that is in the air all around us for free...
But that will never happen as long as people can't make money from it it will never be used.
Think Tesla i did......

14 years ago

I watched this in full a second time as I experienced some domestic interruptions the first time around. I have been a proponent of solar technology for some time and remember telling myself 20 years ago that at least one nation will take the opportunity to the max and of course it had to be Germany. I'm particularly interested in the geo thermal developments in Iceland as well. In the region west of where I live the Ginseng industry has occupied large tracts of semi-arid soils. If the Ginseng market crashes it would certainly be logical (and now more viable economically) to replace crops with energy supply. Thanks Vlatko for including this excellent 'full meal deal' so to speak re: solar awesomeness!

14 years ago

Can't say enough about the information on this documentary. If more and more younger people get involved and find a track that fits then maybe we can unplug from the oil cartels.

14 years ago

Now, after seen this documetary, i am close to think, that envaeronmentalism is not criminally stupid kaind of religion ... Parallely to time - highly recommend spend antention on "Here Comes The Sun". - Documentary as documentary, but facts there are great!