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Monday, November 26, 2007

Way overdue!

It's actually unbelievable how many emails I've received about this blog...from boring to "why the hell don't you update it already?" ;) Let's just say I've been heads down getting Google South Africa off the ground. SO SORRY!!!!

It's almost been 3 months with Google and EVERY single day I'm amazed and excited about what we can do, will do and what this company means to everyone. Not only the greatest company in the world to work at but definitely an organization filled to the brim with the smartest people on the planet. Nope, the stock price performance since I joined isn't the reason for this love...although it doesn't hurt ;)

What have I been up to? - two words; absorbing Google!

Whilst doing this... Writing my monthly columns on Web 2.0 and now immersing myself in the alternative energy world (simultaneously watching the peripheral innovations taking place on the edge of the electricity grid). This space is one or two years from massive long tail adoption...aka that tipping point.

There are really some awesome newcomers to the space - check out these companies working on some alternative photovoltaic designs;


...and interesting business models evolving;


I'm still frustratingly surprised that we're completely ignoring this space here in SA...and please don't email me that solar panel price list as proof that it's alive and well locally...but when I see what our governments stance on this area is...all's explain!

You may wonder why I'm ignoring other alternative energies such as wind - well, this is why: Found on the Dept of Minerals and Energy web site; "Most areas in South Africa average more than 2 500 hours of sunshine per year, and average solar-radiation levels range between 4.5 and 6.5kWh/m2 in one day. The southern African region, and in fact the whole of Africa, has sunshine all year round. The annual 24-hour global solar radiation average is about 220 W/m2 for South Africa, compared with about 150 W/m2 for parts of the USA, and about 100 W/m2 for Europe and the United Kingdom. This makes South Africa's local resource one of the highest in the world. The use of solar energy is the most readily accessible resource in South Africa."

So...why is nothing happening? IMHO, our government has decided, as it has with telecommunications, that they're way more capable and reliable to deliver on alternative energy...when all we really need, to spur on this potential economic boom and employment creator, are tax cuts and/or carbon credits - incentives for adoption and usage...not the creation and delivery of it by government. How many times have we heard the this; "government should not privatise but rather utilise telecommunications, energy and transportation as development platforms for the broader citizenry"...ARGH!

Anyway...enough negativity... I'm hoping the 20% time Google allocates to all of us as employees I can productively allocate to driving this solar energy agenda in South Africa.

Oh yes...on the hobby side of things...trying to keep the PPL and MPL hours clocking although the Johannesburg weather isn't great right now. My goal for this December...get that helicopter pilots licence done...TIME TIME TIME...argh!

I'll try to keep posting folks ;)



Anonymous said...


I found your post very interesting and would like to hear more about where you think the solar industry in RSA is/ should be going. I work for one of the companies based in CA you have listed on your blog, and we are looking at RSA as a possible market opportunity.

Stafford's my name said...

Hi there - sure! Please email me your contact details to - thanks!

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