Neville Williams Profile

by: Heather on 06/30/2009
Posted in: Author Events

Whether you call him a maverick or a pioneer, Neville Williams, author of Chasing the Sun: Solar Adventures Around the World , is one of the more fascinating characters in the history of photovoltaics. Responsible for bringing household electricity to hundreds of thousands of people in the developing world, Neville's current focus is on bringing the sun home - he firmly believes that due to peak oil, economic pressure and climate change, conventional electricity production in the US will be overtaken by renewable electricity production in a matter of a few short decades.

Neville was recently featured in a profile on the Mother Nature Network. The Johnny Appleseed of Solar Power is an in-depth look at his quest to deliver photovoltaic technology into the hands of those that need it the most. From Africa to Sri Lanka, India and Vietnam, Williams and the companies he founded have installed solar lighting systems in the homes of thousands of rural families. Throughout his illustrious career, Neville has attracted the attention of many diverse luminaries - among them former president Clinton and Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

From Chasing the Sun:

Each of us can choose our energy future, and we just may have to as events force us to make a transition to a new energy paradigm. Richard Heinberg has stated in Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post Carbon World that "the most likely trajectory for the energy transition will consist of the collapse of industrial civilization as we know it, probably occurring in stages over a period of several decades." That's not a very nice outlook!

He advocates becoming "preservationists" rather than "survivalists," meaning we can preserve a civilized way of life for ourselves and our communities by preparing now for a shared, not a selfish, "post carbon" lifestyle.

But whether we are sharing or selfish, the sun shines for all of us, and solar electric technology is here and ready to go to work. Individually or collectively -- the sun doesn't care -- we can respond to the triple threats of global warming, energy security, and the end of oil. Or to quote Hermann Scheer once more, "The fight for renewables is a ‘no' for fatalism and a ‘yes' for an everlasting future and a spiritual hegemony." We can also live simply and use less; we don't need to personally send 10 to 20 tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year, as we in the West presently do. And "new energy for a new world" can be our guiding thought.

As long as the sun shines and photosynthesis grows our crops and the photovoltaic effect makes our power, what else do we need? When you've got solar power, every day is a sunny day. And best of all, solar power is your power.

Chasing the Sun


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