Today’s political balance rests on a foundation of ignorance, in which the public has no idea what our society is really like.
we’ve gotten too wrapped up in trying to make solar power compete with fossil fuels, distracting us from its real advantage, which is that it’s right on the roof, independent of the grid. You don’t need wires, or power plants, transformers, or dispatchers. “Doing away with high-voltage lines is not a Luddite view,” says Perlin, “It’s a futuristic one. The revolution will come as we cut down the utility lines and up with the rooftops.” We’ve put decades of effort into making solar conform to the grid—even down to converting solar panels from DC power to AC power and then turning that AC power back to DC power for our TVs, computers, and electronics. House by house, we’ve created redundant costly equipment. Perhaps what we need instead is a more contrarian viewpoint. “All our appliances are DC, trapped in an AC world,” said Perlin. “The history of technology is full of these discontinuity stories.”