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Within a Solar Budget

Most life and all human civilizations until the last century have lived within a solar budget. We have vastly greater understanding of science, materials, engineering and technology than at any other time in human history. We can change the lifeblood of our economy from oil to ingenuity.

Wisdom from the founder of commercial electricity

Thomas Edison underscored that sunshine was as practical as electricity. We only have to engineer our tools to make it so. A key aspect of solar is to use it where it is generated. JPods, solar powered mobility networks, integrate the distributed nature of transportation networks with the distributed power delivered locally be the sun.

1910, Source: Interview in Elbert Hubbard's Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great:
"Some day some fellow will invent a way of concentrating and storing up sunshine to use instead of this old, absurd Prometheus scheme of fire. I'll do the trick myself if some one else doesn't get at it. Why, that is all there is about my work in electricity--you know, I never claimed to have invented electricity--that is a campaign lie--nail it!"

"Sunshine is spread out thin and so is electricity. Perhaps they are the same, but we will take that up later. Now the trick was, you see, to concentrate the juice and liberate it as you needed it. The old-fashioned way inaugurated by Jove, of letting it off in a clap of thunder, is dangerous, disconcerting and wasteful. It doesn't fetch up anywhere. My task was to subdivide the current and use it in a great number of little lights, and to do this I had to store it. And we haven't really found out how to store it yet and let it off real easy-like and cheap. Why, we have just begun to commence to get ready to find out about electricity. This scheme of combustion to get power makes me sick to think of--it is so wasteful. It is just the old, foolish Prometheus idea, and the father of Prometheus was a baboon."

"When we learn how to store electricity, we will cease being apes ourselves; until then we are tailless orangutans. You see, we should utilize natural forces and thus get all of our power. Sunshine is a form of energy, and the winds and the tides are manifestations of energy."

"Do we use them? Oh, no! We burn up wood and coal, as renters burn up the front fence for fuel. We live like squatters, not as if we owned the property.

"There must surely come a time when heat and power will be stored in unlimited quantities in every community, all gathered by natural forces. Electricity ought to be as cheap as oxygen, for it can not be destroyed.

"Now, I am not sure but that my new storage-battery is the thing. I'd tell you about that, but I don't want to bore you..."

 (Little Journeys to the Home's of the Great)


Methane is the battery Edison was looking for. Personal Energy Servers combine into the Distributed Grid. Go to

Presentation by The International Institute of Sustainable Transportation (link)

Presentation on the 17x capability of solar collection for JPods versus solar-race cars.

Construction of solar collection system for deployment over JPods rails. System created by Swenson Solar, Santa Cruz, CA.

Examples of solar collector systems designed for deployment over JPods rails applied to the parking lot at Plantronic's Headquarters in Santa Cruz, CA
Over the JPods rails, collectors will typically be 4 meters wide, this unit is 6.7 meters.

Over the JPods stations, collectors will typically be 6 to 10 meters wide, this unit is 10 meters.

"I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait  'til oil and coal run out before we tackle that."--Thomas Edison (1847-1931)

Energy savings pay for re-tooling transportation.
  • JPods get 183 miles per gallon in city traffic. A gallon of gas contains 36,600 watt-hours.
  • Moving JPods/CargoPods a mile requires 200 watt-hours. Solar collectors, six foot wide mounted over that mile of rail typically gather about 2.5 million watt-hours a day; enough power for 8,000 vehicle-miles.
  • Savings of about 65%
  • Details on re-tooling costs for vast networks.
  • Details on costs per mile and kilometer.

Rough Approximation of Collection Capacity
10 watt/sq foot
6 feet wide
5280 feet per mile
5 hours per day of effective sun
1,584,000 watt-hours per day
200 watt-hour per vehicle-mile
8,000 vehicle-miles of power per day mile of rail per day
20 miles of rail
365 days per year
11,563,200,000 total generation

Put this power in personal experience. Walking barefoot on sun-baked asphalt, you quickly get an idea sunshine is a potent and widespread energy source. Harnessing this power to make oil independent transportation requires three actions:

  • Convert the distributed nature of transportation network into solar collectors.
  • Drive Parasitic Mass towards zero. Current transportation, where we pay for moving a ton to move a person, is too wasteful to take advantage of solar power.
  • Deregulate transportation so it is open to innovation. Current regulations mandate delays, more highways, more oil dependence and other restrictions beyond the ability of most innovators to navigate.
  • Draft California Resolution on Solar Powered Transportation
  • Germany's Economic Lifeboats, Solar Tariff Buy Back. Results are spectacular; 12% renewable electricity, 4,000 MW of new installations in the last year (vs California with 242 MW in the last 5 years).
  • California's Energy Commission has recommended adopting German Feed-in-Tariffs. In the last year Germany's free market approach resulted in 4,000 mega-watts of additional renewable power generation. California's centralized, utility based approach has resulted in only 242 mega-watts being deployed in the last five years.

There is harmony and synergy between transportation's need for power across a network and sunshine's ability to delivery distributed power. Elimination of  Parasitic Mass and power from natural sources is enough to stream resources to need on-demand. At a 65% savings from oil-based transport, it is practical to build a circulatory system for each economic community.

Click to see more solar mounting images.


4. Matching the distributed need to power the transportation network with distributed natural power sources provides vast discretionary power.

Please watch Chris Martenson's presentation on Net Energy. Click then scroll down to 17b.

Leadership in making the transition to solar powered economies has been made by Germany.

Defining Market

The Economic Value, Exports of $8.5 billion Euros

Leadership Job Creation

Sandia, Stirling Energy Systems Set New World Record of 31.25% for Solar-to-Grid Conversion Efficiency