Climate Now

The solarcoaster: adoption curves and business models

October 03, 2022 James Lawler Season 1 Episode 70
Climate Now
The solarcoaster: adoption curves and business models
Show Notes Chapter Markers

Mitigating climate change is a race against time, requiring “rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society,” according to the IPCC, who says we need to halve global emissions by 2030. But Tom Dinwoodie of Epic Institute argues that this kind of rapid change actually isn’t unprecedented, when compared to technologies of the 19th and 20th centuries, which repeatedly went from expensive and obscure to globally adopted in the course of a few decades: electricity, automobiles, aviation, television, computers, the internet.

In this episode, we are joined by Tom, who explains why he thinks clean energy technologies like wind and solar are on a similar path of exponential growth, and John Witchel, CEO of King Energy, who provides a ‘boots-on-the-ground’ perspective of how these industries are changing. Through the lens of his company’s work, incentivizing rooftop solar installation in multi-tenant commercial buildings, John explains why the capitalistic and innovative spirit of industry might just provide the “rapid and unprecedented” change we so critically need.

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Introducing John Witchel, Co-founder and CEO, King Energy
Introducing Tom Dinwoodie, Executive Director, Epic Institute
Modeling technology adoption curves
The Positive Disruption thesis
How John Witchel got the idea to start King Energy - a company that installs solar on multi-tenant commercial rooftops
Solving the “split-incentive” problem for owners and occupiers of multi-tenant buildings
Challenges in the solar industry - the ‘solar coaster’