Here Comes the Sun

After a slow start, solar power seems poised to light up the world -- and utilities are getting the message

Solar power was an exotic new technology when John Schaeffer graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1972 and helped start a primitive commune in the woods of northern California. But he was a tinkerer, and in his spare time he managed to rig up a solar-powered television set so he wouldn't have to miss his favorite shows. Soon Schaeffer was selling solar panels to his fellow urban refugees at a time when, he recalls, "only dope growers could afford them." Today Schaeffer's beard has become a white goatee, and his Real Goods Trading Co. has blossomed into a catalog...

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