September 8, 2014

Colorado State Of Mind: Solar Challenge, Health Effects Of Fracking

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Inside Energy

On the latest episode of RMPBS’ Colorado State of Mind, Inside Energy reporters Dan Boyce and Jordan Wirfs-Brock went on the air to discuss solar energy and the health effects of oil and gas development.

Dan Boyce explains why solar panels may not work during a power outage, what a microgrid is, and what the dropping costs of rooftop solar panels mean for you:

Jordan Wirfs-Brock discusses frac fluid, air pollution, and a research collaboration focused on helping communities make decisions about oil and gas and their health:


  • Don Duncan

    Dropping costs are irrelevant. Projections on the future viability of solar have been wrong for decades. I am thankful Dan admits solar is useless when most needed, e.g., when the grid is down. He should have taken the next step and explained why. Solar is not cost effective without a grid tie/subsidy. When solar can stand on its own, i.e., compete with the grid, then it will be adopted. If that means the end of the monopolies, good riddance. Monopolies are only possible with the threat of violence. Threatening violence against non-violent people is never justified, never moral or practical. I recognize this is a very unpopular statement. Gangs of thugs, i.e., governments, have existed for 10,000 years, made possible only by popular support. I challenge the wisdom of war, taxation, and regulation, all products of govt. I submit that no net benefit accrues from the surrender of the people’s power to rulers. Self governance is more effective and the only moral choice. All attempts to compromise with a monopoly on power, i.e., governments, has failed. The problem is not with the rulers. It is the concept of govt. It cannot be limited once established, as our Founding Fathers experiment has proven. The freest country ever to exist on earth became a tyrannical police/welfare/warfare state in 200 years. This monster must be abolished.

    • Jordan Wirfs-Brock

      Hi Don,

      I’m Inside Energy’s data journalist, and I worked closely with Dan Boyce on our coverage of solar power and the grid. Thanks for viewing our CSOM segments and sharing your thoughts.

      In some cases, rooftop solar has reached the point of being cost effective, although many factors (whether someone owns or rents a home, location, local net-metering policies, local cost of installation, etc.) contribute. So it varies from home to home.

      We’ve done other reporting on the topic that might also interest you. Check out our Solar
      Challenge series ( ), which has data-dives into the dropping costs of solar over time ( ) and the expansion of participation in net-metering programs ( ), which is mostly due to rooftop solar. In our reporting, we made sure to focus on the challenges solar poses to the grid. This isn’t just a matter of installing solar panels. Grid technology also needs to adapt for solar to be viable on a large scale.

      A great resource on pricing trends of solar installations, as well as historical data and projections on the efficiency and cost effectiveness of solar panels, is the annual solar report released by Lawrence Berkeley National Labs ( ).

      I’m a data nerd – I love looking at numbers and am curious about your comment that projections on the future viability of solar have been wrong for decades. Do you have any sources or examples you can share?