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.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:
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...
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.