Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More Solar In The News

I really appreciate all the insightful comments on the previous post about a new method for producing solar cells that AVA Solar is claiming. Here are some of the highlights from the comments:

anonymous: Cadmium telluride is toxic.
The toxicity is not just because of the cadmium. Cadmium telluride triggers extensive reactive oxygen damage to the cell membrane, mitochondria, and cell nucleus.

maryyugo: Solar power is lovely and very necessary but the proper loading and control of the output is essential, costs money and wastes some energy. The equipment takes a lot of room and has a limited life time and a high replacement cost, both in money and in energy use. Finally, the sun doesn't shine a lot of the time in most places and solar energy deposition in most places is at a low rate per amount of area.

Solar power is nice-- but it's no panacea nor is it ever likely to supply the majority of the world's energy needs.

vardan1899: A lot of the cost is not in the cells but the frame, manufacturing, shipping, overhead, etc. too... In many cases there are tax breaks (US) that "really" pay for them. One must wonder if the cells themselves were "free" hAow much the panel would still end up costing.
Making solar cells cheaper is always cool, but I don't think it is going to be a giant impact anymore no matter what they do...
These points suggest that photovoltaics won't be the main solution to our energy problems, and I agree. To keep the conversation going, here are a couple of other recent news items related to solar energy that caught my attention, and should catch yours too:

Splitting Water with Sunlight - " Researchers from the German Max Planck Institute have now developed a catalyst that may do just that..."

Solar Nation: Can the Sun Power the US? - David Mills, Chairmen and Chief Scientific Officer of Asura, a venture backed startup in Silicon Valley, presented on his approach to solving America's energy needs with Solar Energy. I came across this article while reading SciGuy.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

While we wait...

After two and a half months of silence in the forums, Steorn finally returns with this comment on the Orbo Irish Folk Songs thread:

Brilliant! :bigsmile:
To pass the time while we all wait to see what happens next with Steorn, I thought I'd share with you this piece of news I came across on Slashdot today. Supposedly a new method for producing solar cells developed at Colorado State University is about to go into production, reducing solar panel production costs down to $1 per watt from the current minimum $3 per watt. The company AVA Solar Inc will start production by the end of next year, no Jury validation required. Now that's getting pretty close to free energy!

Friday, September 14, 2007

In Flux

Today in the forums, Grimer points us to Kinetica's next exhibition, In Flux, featuring 8 international artists. Interestingly, Steorn is sponsoring the event:

So far, this is the closest thing to news this September.