Bradford, Travis

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Bradford, Travis


Education: Harvard University, M.B.A., M.P.A.


Office—Prometheus Institute for Sustainable Development, 1280 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; fax: 617-868-0076.


Financier, businessperson, educator, writer, and editor. The Prometheus Institute for Sustainable Development, Cambridge, MA, founder and president, 2003—; Atlas Capital, Cambridge, partner. Formerly a partner in various corporate acquisition and investment funds, including Steel Partners II, L.P., New York, NY. Also served as a board member and manager of public and private companies, worked for the Federal Reserve Board, and lectured at universities, including Columbia, Harvard, and Duke Universities.


Solar Revolution: The Economic Transformation of the Global Energy Industry, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.

Editor-in-chief of PVNews.


Travis Bradford worked in the field of corporate acquisitions and private equity funds before founding the Prometheus Institute for Sustainable Development in 2003. The nonprofit organization focuses on using the business and financial sectors to develop cost-effective and sustainable technologies. The organization also collects and develops information on all types of technology and process used to promote global economic, industrial, and societal sustainable development. The institute's primary research focus has been renewable energy and economic opportunities associated with such energy.

In his first book, Solar Revolution: The Economic Transformation of the Global Energy Industry, the author presents his case that a shift to solar energy is inevitable and will be economically advantageous for business and investors, producing a technological revolution that will rival the effects of the revolutions in information and communication technologies that reached full force in the late 1990s. Discussing his book and his philosophy about solar power in an interview with Grist Web site contributor David Roberts, Bradford noted: "Solar is different from other energy technologies in that it delivers energy at the point of use, directly to the end user. That allows it to circumvent the entire supply chain. It's not another option for a utility, it's a competitor to a utility—the first time utilities have really had a competitor."

The author's theory about the evolution of solar power as presented in Solar Revolution is based on standard business and economic forecasting models, which predict that, over the next two decades, solar energy will become the best and cheapest choice for most electricity and energy applications. As he outlines the way in which the transition to solar technology and other sustainable energy practices will take place, the author describes the developments in the photovoltaic (PV) industry in the early twenty-first century that has made it an increasingly popular power choice among hundreds of thousands of mainstream homeowners and businesses from the American Southwest to Japan.

After discussing the future of energy in his preface and outlining a new way of thinking about energy resources, the author offers a brief history of energy used by human beings. "Bradford traces the history of energy generation and its ties to economic development," noted a contributor to the Blog Critics Web site."He points out that historically, natural resource depletion led to the collapse of civilizations, beginning with deforestation and its attendant soil depletion." The author goes on to discuss the current field of alternative energy sources, including the use of nuclear, wind, and biomass energy sources, and then delves into why he believes solar energy will outperform these other modes of energy, as well as current energy resources. He also examines modern electric utility economics and discusses the use of solar electricity in the real world. Another chapter focuses on the various economic and business tools that can be incorporated to accelerate the use of solar energy. Bradford closes his book with a discussion of what he perceives to be the inevitable rise of solar and other alternative energy resources based primarily on the logic of economic market forces. The author also acknowledges the need for policy development to help spur on solar power use, such as government policies developed in Japan and Germany, which have helped catalyze solar power use in both of these countries.

"This well-written book offers a lot of useful information and persuasive analysis about the current energy situation and possible future trends," wrote Hossein Samiei in a review of Solar Revolution in Finance & Development. Writing in Environment, Frank N. Laird noted: "Besides making a persuasive case for PV, Solar Revolution has other strengths. Bradford presents a clear and jargon-free introduction to utility economics and the different methods of calculating the cost of electricity."



Chemical Heritage, fall, 2007, Matthew Eisler, "Sustainable Futures," review of Solar Revolution: The Economic Transformation of the Global Energy Industry, p. 42.

E, November-December, 2006, Kathleen O'Neill, "Future of Solar Power," review of Solar Revolution, p. 60.

Environment, May, 2007, Frank N. Laird, review of Solar Revolution, p. 36.

Finance & Development, March, 2007, Hossein Samiei, "Power of the Sun," review of Solar Revolution, p. 52.

Futurist, September-October, 2006, review of Solar Revolution, p. 51.

Journal of Economic Literature, September, 2007, Linda T.M. Bui, "Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics—Environmental and Ecological Economics," review of Solar Revolution, p. 773.

Science News, September 23, 2006, review of Solar Revolution, p. 207.


Blog Critics, (June 20, 2007), review of Solar Revolution.

Bright Sight Group Web site, (March 15, 2008), author profile.

Grist, (November 30, 2006), David Roberts, "The Revolution Will Be Solarized," author interview.

Prometheus Institute for Sustainable Development Web site, (March 15, 2008), brief profile of author.

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Bradford, Travis

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