When he passed away last September at the age of 91, T. Boone Pickens generated dozens of media biographies.
Of course, a billionaire with his reputation as a savvy business leader would no doubt get lots of obituaries written about him.
Here’s the thing; of the several accounts I read, most focused on his very successful career as an oil and gas baron.
It’s easy to see why. After all, in 2007 alone, he is reported to have earned more than $2.7 billion from his two energy-investing funds.
So, it may sound ironic for me to suggest that those obituaries were inaccurate.
I say that because at least two years before his death, Pickens went through a sea change and closed his energy funds. The reason: he became a massive backer of solar technology.
Please don’t think I’m pulling out an isolated case to show that solar has passed the tipping point.
Today, I’m going to show you why deep in the heart of America’s coal country, experts are putting their faith in sunlight.
Land of Opportunity
Boone (as he was known) saw what many people are beginning to see – renewables are the next generation in energy production.
Not to save the planet or reduce global warming, but renewable technology can produce energy as cheaply as fossil fuels.
And it’s easier to find sites for the sun and steady wind than it is to find oil and gas deposits.
Boone saw the fact that his adopted home state of Texas was now the national leader in renewable energy production.
He grew up in the business. His father sold oil and mineral rights. Boone grew up around oil and oil men since his birth in 1928 in Oklahoma.
He attended Oklahoma State University. And by 1956, just a few years out of school, he founded Mesa Petroleum. Within 15 years it was one of the largest independent oil companies in the world.
In 1996, he sold Mesa and started a couple of energy investing funds instead. But shortly before he died, he spun out one of the funds and turned it into a renewable energy fund.
And he’s not the only energy executive to go solar. Just look at what’s happening deep in the heart of Kentucky.
First, the state is and has been for a very long time, a coal state. It’s almost as famous for coal production (and consumption) as it is for Bourbon and the Kentucky Derby.
That’s why it was so notable when early into 2020, Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities Co. announced they were going to build and jointly operate a 100MW solar power plant.
To give you some perspective on how big a deal this is in Kentucky, the two utilities currently generate 80% of their energy using coal, and 19% using natural gas.
In other words, almost every single watt of power comes from burning fossil fuels.
The new solar plant will be able to generate enough electricity for nearly 100,000 homes (assuming the rule of thumb that 1 mW = 100 homes).
This isn’t a small “experiment”. This is a real renewable energy power plant that already has all its power bought and accounted for.
There’s no doubt that coal-fired plants have been on the decline in the US. In 2014 they accounted for nearly 40% of the power generated. By 2018, that number was 27%, according to the US Energy Information Agency (EIA).
Part of this transition is happening because natural gas is now plentiful in the US and it’s much cheaper and easier to access and transport. And it’s more efficient.
But since this transition to natural gas has been occurring, the next generation of solar panels and wind farms have also been rolling out. And the prices have come down dramatically.
It used to be a dream of solar advocates to get the price of solar power installations down to $1/watt. But we’ve hit that and prices have continued to drop as new panels become increasingly efficient, giving the solar installations more bang for the buck.
Forecasters at GTM Research project that, by 2022, solar-generated electricity will be down to 70 cents a watt.
It Makes Business Sense Now
Even with a coal-friendly administration in Washington, states and companies are giving renewables the green light – and not because they are trying to save the planet but because it makes good business sense.
Even the state most associated with fossil fuels – Texas – is hoping to become the biggest renewable energy producer in the US.
You read that correctly.
Over the past 15 years, Texas has committed to a $7 billion plan to build the generation and transmission capacity of wind power in West Texas. In the Lone Star State, they love the fact that solar is now affordable and has created 25,000 jobs there already.
Even in the middle of the fracking center of the universe, the Permian Basin, many of the rigs and their operations are powered by solar and wind.
Learning Texas’ Lesson
Other states are now seeing this benefit.
According to Fortune Business Insights, the current global production of solar power is around 680 GW. By 2026, that market is expected to be 4766 GW. That’s a sevenfold increase in the next 6 years.
And in California, a new energy initiative just went into effect this year. The Golden State is looking to go 100% renewable by 2045.
Remember, California is nearly the fifth largest economy in the world. So, what happens there could be a profit bonanza for savvy tech investors.
The state has mandated that beginning on January 1 of this year, every newly built home in the state must be solar powered.
We’re looking at a projected $153 billion stampede as home builders scramble to order solar panels. Without solar, they simply cannot get construction permits.
Turns out, there is one tiny company based in California that has what I believe are the keys to the solar kingdom.
I call it the Dark Burst device. See, the patented product is lucrative for a very good reason – it allows solar to power homes before the sun even comes up and into the evening.
Make no mistake. This is a massive breakthrough set to disrupt the entire solar industry.
In fact it could be so lucrative an event that I have prepared a special investing dossier just for you. In it, you will find out why the Dark Burst could be set to unleash a $153 billion profit bonanza for investors.
It’s important you act now before the Wall Street and Big Media wake up to the profit potential I’m talking about. To get your copy, simply click here.
Cheers and good investing,
Michael A. Robinson