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Cover Story
 
GEORGE KHOURY NSF FELLOW PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
“Solar power has the best ROI”
George Khoury from Princeton Believes that Although Solar Energy is Expensive, it can Provide The Best Return on Investment
Issue Date - 23/06/2011
 
B&E: What initiatives from the businesses and policy makers do you think are necessary to encourage solar power generation?
GK: I believe that business and policy makers must present to the public three important facets to encourage solar power generation. First is energy efficiency – they must present quantitatively the efficiency of solar power. The second is safety. Thirdly, they must present how much cheaper and cleaner this energy source is in comparison to the alternatives. Not only must they present these, but they must demonstrate them consistently. Only then will the public embrace the use of solar Beyond this, effective advertising campaigns to promote the use of solar energy would be important as well.

B&E: Please elaborate on the challenges that both these technologies face towards becoming major sources of energy generators in the near future?
GK: Nuclear energy generation is always challenged with the problem of safety, especially in the light of those recent unfortunate events in Japan. If nuclear energy companies could demonstrate ample safety controls (much beyond their current levels) to ensure the safety of the public and biota in the surrounding regions in the event of a disaster, only then do I believe that the public can embrace its use with ease.

Comparatively, solar energy is much too expensive at the moment. Although considered an investment that will pay itself off in several years of use, the funds needed to purchase solar energy systems are still too expensive. I believe this that with time, the costs will decrease (similar to how the cost of sequencing a human genome has starkly been lowered over time as technology & innovation persisted & improved).

B&E: Which, in your opinion, is the best feasible direction for emerging economies to undertake – Solar or Nuclear?
GK: I think that solar power has the best return on investment. As long as the sun is present, once the solar panels are in place, one can have reusable energy seemingly forever.

 

Amir Moin           

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