terranceWe all start our journey through life desiring to change the world. My reason for helping start Black Sun Planetary Solutions is that this is a chance to stop just desiring positive change, and to start driving it.

We are applying smart, elegant engineering to solve some of the most fundamental problems we face as a species. We’re doing this by developing critical products that are dramatically lower in cost, and thus have a potential to change the entire game. Clean energy isn’t the norm right now, and it’s not because people and corporations want to pollute. It’s simply not the cheapest solution yet; it’s literally not competitive.

But we are attacking that problem head-on with our first project. And that’s what’s so exciting about this: if we succeed in getting our hardware to live up to what our theories promise, then our technology could, for example, make half the coal-fired power plants in the world obsolete.

What we’re doing at the site near Ramona, CA this summer will demonstrate conclusively that we’ve reached that turning point. We will be able to demonstrate hard data showing the entire system performance and cost, and prove that solar power is ready to take its rightful place.

From there it will be just a matter of mass production, which will drive our prices even lower and increase our design’s advantages. These are exactly the sort of “positive feedback loops” I look to design into systems: to create mechanisms where we generate “virtuous cycles” where momentum builds, and large transformations become possible.

I learned this approach as a spacecraft engineer, over the last two decades, where I am at the forefront of the industry that took microsatellites from a crazy notion to an exciting experiment, to an essential technology now used throughout civilian, NASA and military space efforts. This is also the area where I got used to working with teams taken from the “best of the best.”

To get those same type of results at Black Sun, we’ve recruited a couple of experienced colleagues for key roles, and then we went back to one of my old training grounds, the space program at the University of Colorado, to recruit from the brightest engineering students across several fields. When we got to California, we took a similar approach of intensive screening of top notch students from UCSD to round out the summer team.

This crew has amazing talent and drive, and experience and access to the most modern tools to make them efficient. They are exactly who we need to get the job done. With this team, we will break through the cost barriers that have kept solar from living up to its true promise.

Then, we’ll start tackling some of the other planet-wide problems in need of better solutions, like access to clean drinking water, and finally making low-cost access to space a reality, opening the floodgates to a whole new class of solutions for everyone.

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