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The new solar coating, made from a special nanomaterial may not look like much, but it helps solar cells to be 42 percent more efficient, making them close to being cost competitive. Best of all it can be easily produced with existing infrastructure.  (Source: Rensselaer/Shawn Lin)
New coated cell 43 percent more efficient, can be easily produced with current production lines

Solar breakthroughs are relatively commonplace.  However, typically they are iterative -- small increases by a percent or two in efficiency.  Researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have invented a new solar cell that is anything but iterative as it blows away past offerings by a large margin; something RPI calls a "game-changer" for the solar business.

Against relatively cheap coal power, solar -- like nuclear and wind -- has struggled to compete from a purely economic standpoint.  Worse yet, it trails wind and nuclear in terms of how close it is to being cost competitive.  The light at the end of the tunnel is that solar have shown the highest gains in efficiency of any alternative energy source, making its future look very bright.

The new RPI solar cell is a normal cell covered in a special anti-reflective coating which traps sunlight from nearly every angle and part of the spectrum.  The new cell is near perfect; it absorbs 96.21 percent of the sunlight shined on it, while a normal cell could only absorb 67.4 percent.  That 43 percent efficiency boost, coupled with mass production, if properly implemented could place solar on the verge of competing unsubsidized with coal power, at last.

Shawn-Yu Lin, professor of physics at Rensselaer and a member of the university’s Future Chips Constellation describes the breakthrough, stating, "To get maximum efficiency when converting solar power into electricity, you want a solar panel that can absorb nearly every single photon of light, regardless of the sun’s position in the sky.  Our new antireflective coating makes this possible."

Most materials have a mixture of light absorbing (anti-reflective) and light reflecting properties, depending on the angle and wavelength of light.  For example, eyeglasses allow light to pass through on direct angles, but begin to reflect light at sharper angles.  Solar panels in their current form operate with similar mixed character.  In order to improve efficiency, mechanical components must be added to turn to panel to face the sun.  This system entails significant cost and loss of energy efficiency, as well as a great maintenance burden.

With Professor Lin's discovery, the world's first cost-efficient static solar arrays could be produced.  No matter what angle the sun was at, nearly all sunlight would be absorbed and converted to power.  Professor Lin describes, "At the beginning of the project, we asked ‘would it be possible to create a single antireflective structure that can work from all angles?’ Then we attacked the problem from a fundamental perspective, tested and fine-tuned our theory, and created a working device."

Rensselaer physics graduate student Mei-Ling Kuo helped Professor Lin investigate various antireflective coatings.  Their eventual choice was a nanomaterial, consisting of several fine anti-reflective sheets.  Normal antireflective coatings consist of one sheet, which absorbs light at a specific wavelength.  By stacking seven separate layers into a composite coat, they were able to absorb nearly the entire spectrum.  Furthermore, the staggered nature of the layers "bent" the flow of sunlight to a favorable angle, trapping it in the coating.  This means that if light manages to reflect off a lower layer, it will be sent back down by the upper layers.

Each layer was made from a special nanomaterial consisting of silicon dioxide and titanium dioxide nanorods positioned at an oblique angle.  The material was grown through standard chemical vapor deposition techniques, and could be applied to the manufacturing of most standard solar cells, including III-V multi-junction and cadmium telluride cells.

On a microscopic level the nanomaterial looks like a forest of tiny, densely packed trees.  Each layer is 50 nm to 100 nm thick.

The team hopes to bring their technology quickly to market, as it will require little in the way of manufacturing line changes. The research is detailed in the paper "Realization of a Near Perfect Antireflection Coating for Silicon Solar Energy", published in the journal Optics Letters.

Besides Lin and Kuo, the other researchers listed as co-authors on the paper were E. Fred Schubert, Wellfleet Senior Constellation Professor of Future Chips at Rensselaer; Research Assistant Professor Jong Kyu Kim; physics graduate student David Poxson; and electrical engineering graduate student Frank Mont.

The research was funded with the help of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences, as well as the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research.



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My best guess is that...
By JonnyDough on 11/5/2008 10:21:17 AM , Rating: 2
you will still turn your solar panels to capture more light. Regardless of the angle, SOME sunlight is always going to be reflected. This tech may make it so that your panel only has to be two directional. Facing the east in the morning and west in the eve, without having to adjust for solstice/equinox. That should significantly lower the cost and maintenance of the gadgetry to tilt panels.




RE: My best guess is that...
By 3DoubleD on 11/5/2008 11:44:33 AM , Rating: 5
I just finished reading the paper and the film itself exhibits amazingly low reflections in an extremely broad spectrum of light (400-1600nm, although silicon is transparent to light above 1100nm anyway, but lower band gap solar cells could benefit).If a film like this was developed to be durable enough, there would be no need for a motorized system. At 60 degrees the graded index has a maximum reflection of 10% for all wavelengths mentioned above. At these angles, regular anti-reflection coatings found on solar cells give reflections in the 20% range (and even higher for long wavelengths). If you average the reflection of this film over all angles and wavelengths you get 32.6% for bare silicon (no solar cells are bare silicon), 18.8% for a quarter wavelength AR coating (typical solar cell coating), and 3.79% for this graded index. The efficiency of these films is simply given by 100%-R and translates to 67.4%, 81.2%, 96.21% respectively. This means the graded index is 22.2% more efficient than the anti-reflection coatings used on typical solar cells and 42.7% more efficient than bare silicon (a useless comparison when talking about the potential increase in efficiency of current solar cell devices).

With this in mind I would say that the purpose of this coating would be to eliminate the need for active sun tracking as regular anti-reflection coatings have nearly identical performance for incident sunlight (this film is better as it has lower IR reflectivity, but the difference isn't earth-shattering at incidence). Reducing the penalty of sunlight being off incident will make it possible for non-motorized solar power plants to produce more energy (even in the early morning and late afternoon, 60 degree reflections only 10%). Motorized systems increase the cost of implementing solar power plants and maintenance as well as reduce the output power from the cells (although less then the power gained from using them in the first place). With increased stationary solar cell performance we could see these systems with superior $/W performance and the elimination of motorized systems.

However, the article mentions there are barriers to using this commercially. First, this porous, nanorod film was found to be not robust enough for practical solar cell applications. Secondly, this experiment was not conducted on a solar cell but a piece of silicon. While the area covered by the graded index was not mentioned, it was referred to as a "dot". The paper also mentions the rods were formed using oblique angle deposition (not CVD as mentioned in this article, however, they said other deposition techniques were required to make the film, sputtering was mentioned). Oblique angle deposition may have difficulties scaling to commercial applications as it is a form of physical vapor deposition, although it wouldn't be impossible.

Finally, increasing the absorption of the cell will certainly lead to an increase in efficiency, but not by a factor of 22.2% (a 20% efficient cell that realizes the full impact of 22.2% more light would be 24.44% efficient). With increase absoption of light comes increased heat production. Solar cell efficiency decreases with increasing temperature. So our theoretical 20% cell would see an efficiency increase somewhere between 20 and 24.44%, but I would guess the heat contributions would be relatively small (so around 23% wouldn't be out of the question). This coating would have a much more pronounced impact on better quality solar cells such as multi-junction cells (eg. a 22.2% increase in overall light absorption could increase a top-of-the-line 40% multi-junction cell to 48.88%). Unfortunately, these cells aren't very competitive enough in the $/W category to make use of this (they are normally used on satellites and in solar concentrators).


RE: My best guess is that...
By randomly on 11/5/2008 12:06:23 PM , Rating: 4
Thanks for posting the 'reality check'. That info should have been in the original article. One gets so tired of the deceptively written weasel-word hype write ups.


RE: My best guess is that...
By swampjelly on 11/5/2008 2:19:12 PM , Rating: 2
I was about to say the same thing


RE: My best guess is that...
By 3DoubleD on 11/5/2008 2:37:34 PM , Rating: 5
I just realized I made an error my calculation of the maximum gain of having this graded index on a theoretical 20% solar cell. Previously I said that this new cell would give a 20% solar cell a 22.2% more light, thus the efficiency of the cell could be increased to a maximum of 24.44%. This was incorrect.

With the increased availability of light in the solar cell, efficiency will improve, but it will be much less than 24.44%. As I mentioned there are thermal issues, but there is one much more important issue. This would allow 22.2% more light across the solar spectrum (particularly low wavelengths in the near-IR regime). Light above ~1100nm subtracts from the efficiency of the solar cell (efficiency = Power Out/Power In, increasing the availability of 1100nm+ light does not increase Power Out but increases Power In, lowering efficiency). Increasing the amount of light exactly at the band gap will increase efficiency the most (however this is a very narrow regime). Increasing the amount of light above the band gap will increase efficiency but with diminishing returns as wavelength decrease (Power Out goes up, but Power In goes up faster).

To summarize, this film would have a moderate effect on the efficiency of solar cells. While reflections are reduced 22.2% more than cells readily available today, the full magnitude of this increase in collection efficiency cannot be directly applied to the efficiency of the solar cell. It would be most appropriate to say that this film will increase the POWER OUTPUT of the solar cell and thus improve power densities and $/Watt for solar power systems. There will be a small increase in efficiency, but the above terms are more applicable.


RE: My best guess is that...
By tastyratz on 11/5/2008 3:22:49 PM , Rating: 2
Someone give this man a 6.


RE: My best guess is that...
By JonnyDough on 11/5/2008 7:18:50 PM , Rating: 2
I'll second that, once I understand what the heck he just said. I'm no photonologist. :-P


RE: My best guess is that...
By Regs on 11/10/2008 10:37:12 AM , Rating: 2
And a job!


RE: My best guess is that...
By tygrus on 11/5/2008 7:36:25 PM , Rating: 1
Don't need to move panels .. Wrong.
90% effecient panel .. Wrong.

The major reason for decreased energy output when the sun is low is the apparent cross-sectional area of light. Just as shadows are larger in the morning and afternoon, so is the light spread. Use a torch and a flat rubber at the same distance, how much light is blocked when straight on, now rotate the rubber so it is almost end on (as if lit from the sun going down). The rubber blocks less light at high angle (not at 90 deg). You will increase power output by pointing these new panels towards the sun as the sun moves through the day.

Just because you can trap the light doesn't mean you can convert that energy to electricity. May be we can cool the PV panels with water for later use by the hot water service.

How much will these new panels cost per MWh/year (all else being equal) ?


RE: My best guess is that...
By 3DoubleD on 11/5/2008 9:35:58 PM , Rating: 3
Who said anything about a 90% efficient panel. The graded index film has a ~96% collection efficiency (meaning it only reflects ~4%). I clearly said the solar cell efficiency would only marginally go up.

You are correct that trapping the light doesn't mean it will be converted into electricity, but having more available will increase the power output (if thermal issues don't get out of hand, and they won't for a small 22.2% increase in collection efficiency). Water cooling for PVs is a great idea that should be implemented more often. This is a great way to increase the efficiency for a home or business installation. By heating your water from the waste heat generated in the solar cells you can lower your water heating power usage and enjoy increased PV efficiency due to cooler operation. This dramatically increases the efficiency of the system, as does any hybrid implementation in coal or nuclear power plants (nuclear plants see massive efficiency gains when the waste hot water is actually used instead of discarded).

That is true that the cross section of light decreases throughout the day as a function of the sine of the angle for a solar cell that is flat to the ground (sunrise being 0 degrees and sunset being 180 degrees). At larger angles from incidence (early morning, late afternoon) other factors come into play, such as increased scattering and absorption of light in the atmosphere. The power that can be collected during these hours is much smaller than peak daytime hours. Another important factor to consider is that solar cell arrays are used to supplement constant 24 hours power stations (eg coal, nuclear, ect). Peak power demand is during the day, which is normally when the sun is on or near incidence. Solar cells used in this capacity would not require expensive solar tracker motors, greatly enhancing their usefulness.

That said, every situation is different. One would have to do a complete cost analysis of each given situation to see whether it would be worth implementing motorized solar trackers or not. The point was that this brings more options to the table by making the non-motorized arrays more competitive and perhaps opening new markets. Of course this is assuming they can improve the technology to the point where it is practical for solar cell use (which it is not at this moment).

As for the costs, I don't think there is a number yet as this new graded index material isn't ready for practical use as it isn't durable enough. Depending on how those problems are addressed and the methods used to grow the film, it could be close to the cost of current AR coatings or much more. Only time will tell.


RE: My best guess is that...
By TheOtherBubka on 11/6/2008 11:31:18 AM , Rating: 2
3DoubleD I agree and also showed a more standard rationalization below. Somehow, I didn't see your post until today. The authors made a 3 layer graded Anti-relfection coating which they compared to a 1 layer anti-reflection coating and no coating. If you follow the pdf link I sent below, you will also see a standard 3 layer AR coating reflects very little over a very broad wavelength range without all the complexity of their deposition technology. The authors made the top 2 layers by scultptured thin film techniques. As I stated in my other post, not good material utilization and costly deposition techniques.


RE: My best guess is that...
By emboss on 11/5/2008 7:17:14 PM , Rating: 2
You'd still need to turn the panels to get good efficiency out of them even if you had no reflection. Simple geometry means that over a whole day, the efficiency of a fixed panel is only about half (season and geography depending) that of a tracking panel even if you assume zero reflective loss.

Also, the differences between a panel that flips between two orientations and a tracking panel would be pretty small. You've still got to have all the hinges, motors, etc for a two-orientation setup. The only "extra" bit on the tracking panel would be changing the timer to turn the structure one notch every x minutes, instead of turning the structure be a large number of notches every 6 hours.

The main benefit I see for these panel is in situations where moving the panel is not practical. So remote communication sites, solar panels on vehicles, etc need less space or can use more power. The angle independence is of limited use for "mains" solar power.


RE: My best guess is that...
By ShaolinSoccer on 11/6/2008 6:05:40 AM , Rating: 2
Would it be impractical to have two panels facing east and west? Or even 3 with one facing straight up? I was thinking of houses having this kind of setup on the roof. You can even put them under a clear panel so that rain runoff falls in certain directions. It would be terrific to be able to store up energy during the day then use it during the evening for free.


RE: My best guess is that...
By trisct on 11/6/2008 4:07:15 PM , Rating: 2
So, you would have solar panels that can't be washed or even swept clean, basically. That would mess up your non-reflective surface in a hurry.


Neat
By Gzus666 on 11/5/2008 9:50:00 AM , Rating: 2
I love you science. Pretty cool time to be living, so many innovations. Soon solar will be actually worth using in more things.




RE: Neat
By Nyamekye on 11/5/2008 10:01:55 AM , Rating: 2
Yes! Now I can make a solar powered computer. Then I play my games outside with my WIFI connection.


RE: Neat
By JonnyDough on 11/5/2008 10:27:03 AM , Rating: 4
That will only work if you wear monitor goggles though, and those are likely to be fairly ridiculous looking. You can't game in sunlight with today's monitors. They reflect too much sunlight making it impossible to see your screen. I can't game in the morning, because there are no curtains in my office. :-P

Anyway, good luck on the virtual-boy like goggles. And kudos on being the biggest nerd on the block. You can kiss that sweet thang next door goodbye, she'll never be yours.


RE: Neat
By Raidin on 11/5/2008 1:52:12 PM , Rating: 2
Are you trying to say that guy is Peter Parker?


RE: Neat
By Clauzii on 11/5/2008 2:47:44 PM , Rating: 2
You don't look stupid if people can't see the goggles:

http://www.dailytech.com/Tuned+Light+Turns+Opaque+...

:)


RE: Neat
By twhittet on 11/6/2008 5:16:03 PM , Rating: 2
"They reflect too much sunlight making it impossible to see your screen."

Well....this article IS about a 96% non-reflective coating, isn't it? Maybe this could be a larger break-through for TVs and monitors than it is for solar technology.


RE: Neat
By JonnyDough on 11/6/2008 8:35:14 PM , Rating: 2
Your mom is non-reflective. Yo momma so fat, she has her own gravitational pull, and not even light can escape it! Muahaha. It carried over from another article. Sorry. :-P


Combining this with other tech
By elgueroloco on 11/5/2008 11:32:24 AM , Rating: 2
I remember reading a few months back about how silicon microwires will make solar cells 7 times more efficient at producing electricity from the light captured than they currently are. Combine that with a coating that captures 43% more light, and you've got a seriously powerful solar cell, one which would certainly be viable enough to replace fossil fuels.

Let's say that right now a solar cell produced 100 kW per whatever time period, using 62% of the light that hits it. So, for every 1% of the sunlight that hits it, it makes 1.61 kW. Now, increase that sevenfold. Now it's making 700 kW per time period, and 11.29 kW per 1% of sunlight that hits it. Now add 43% more sunlight, and you've got a panel producing 1072.55 kW/time. In other words, it's almost 11 times more efficient/powerful than it was before. I'd say that would definitely be commercially and economically viable.




RE: Combining this with other tech
By elgueroloco on 11/5/2008 11:45:00 AM , Rating: 2
Crap. My numbers are screwed up in my first post. That's what I get for not having the story open in another tab while writing the comment.

So, reworked with correct numbers, the improvements mentioned would boost production to 999.62 kW/time, or basically a tenfold boost in output. Still commercially viable.


RE: Combining this with other tech
By 3DoubleD on 11/5/2008 12:17:01 PM , Rating: 4
First off, it was solar cells made of nanowires. Secondly, if you increased the efficiency of regular solar cells (17% for decent silicon solar cells) you would have 119% efficient solar cells. Thirdly, Jason poorly worded this article. This new film is 42.7% better than BARE SILICON and 22.2% better than current anti-reflection films over all angles and wavelengths (400nm-1600nm). At incidence (when the sun is directly overhead) the improvement is very small (I've explained the difference in my other, longer post).

Nanowire solar cells show promise and maybe one day they will surpass the efficiency of our best solar cells available today. This day is far away though (a decade would be insanely soon). How do I know this? I'm currently doing graduate work in III/V nanowires solar cells. These devices show a lot of promise but there are many hurdles to overcome before they are ready for industry. I'm not trying to put the technology down because I think it has great potential (that is why I'm working on it), but people need to have realistic expectations for these devices.


By elgueroloco on 11/5/2008 1:40:48 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, I see. Thanks for the info. I guess I should have known better than to get all excited about something written by Jason Mick. Seems like all his articles are like this.


By randomly on 11/5/2008 12:01:20 PM , Rating: 2
Another Hyped technology breakthrough that doesn't tell us what's actually going on. Is this yet another marketing ploy for research funding?

My read is that this breakthrough does little to nothing to improve sun tracking PV systems.

It's advantage seems to be only for fixed flat panel systems when the incident light is not perpendicular to the cell. It doesn't seem to improve peak conversion efficiency, but it may improve efficiency when ensolation is off angle. It's completely unclear how much of an actual advantage this might be.

They compare their antireflection coating to an untreated solar cell which only absorbs 67.4 percent of the light. At what angle of incidence is this? Perpendicular? an average from 0-90 degrees? worst case?

But this is a further deceptive comparison because antireflection coatings are already used on solar cells. How does this new coating compare to those already in use? The improvement over current state of the art is probably much less than is portrayed here.

If the coating is on the cell itself, is it robust enough to take direct exposure to rain, wind, dust, hail etc? Or would it require a protective layer of some kind on top, and how much would that protective layer negate the advantage of the coating.

In other words what are the potential real world advantages when applied to an actual usable PV panel? What restrictions on PV panels does this imply? Is this just a 1% improvement out of a flat panel in energy per day? 10%? I think the information is vague for a reason.

As usual with these articles, we have no clear idea if this 'Near Perfect' Solar Design has actually ANY advantage in a real world application.




By 3DoubleD on 11/5/2008 9:47:58 PM , Rating: 2
Those are all very good questions. I answered most of those in another post. The short answers though are:

No, it doesn't help PV cells track anything, just makes the penalty for not tracking a bit less.

The comparison is done for an average of all angles between 0-60 and all wavelengths between 400-1600nm.

This is a 22.2% improvement over existing anti-reflection coatings using the criteria above.

The film isn't very durable at all, something the researchers vowed to work on at the end of their article. It is not ready for the real world at all.

The real world advantages are small at the moment. If this film could be used today it would yield modest increases in power output on sun-tracking arrays and slightly bigger increases in power output for non-sun-tracking arrays over current technologies. The exact is meaningless as this technology isn't currently feasible.

Like I said, good questions, way to read the article critically.


By randomly on 11/6/2008 6:02:33 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, thanks for the write-up above. We cross posted. Your detailed post wasn't up when I started composing my previous list of observations and questions or I wouldn't have made the redundant comments. Thanks again for clarifying this article.


unclear...
By menace on 11/5/2008 12:51:12 PM , Rating: 2
The following implied that one can save money by not having to install it on heliostat tracking hardware:

quote:
In order to improve efficiency, mechanical components must be added to turn to panel to face the sun. This system entails significant cost and loss of energy efficiency, as well as a great maintenance burden.


Really? What about area times cosine of incidence angle? You still would have to use a heliostat to maximize the number of photons landing per square cm per sec at all times of day.

Perhaps the implied point was like you can spend $100k per unit on old tech with heliostats or spend $100k per unit for the new cells mounted on fixed frames and the same $100K will buy the more energy output per day?

But wouldn't you be better off building a new-tech system WITH heliostats that requires purchasing fewer heliostats (1), fewer cells (2), and less land footprint (3) to achieve the same power output?
(1) than required for the old-tech system
(2) than required for a new-tech w/o heliostats
(3) than required for either old-tech w/heliostats or new-tech w/o heliostats

I'm just not sure what the quote was supposed to mean. The new tech would be good for both fixed and tracking power systems. Economics will dictate which one is better for a given situation.




RE: unclear...
By menace on 11/5/2008 1:04:17 PM , Rating: 1
I just read 3DoubleD's post explains it.

quote:
Thirdly, Jason poorly worded this article.

nod


RE: unclear...
By Clauzii on 11/5/2008 2:51:26 PM , Rating: 2
If they could coat DLP chips with solar cells and some individual microscopic tracking device, a very great part of a panel could be angled almost 100% in the right direction at all times.

(I hereby claim the patent :D )


I didn't know they were that efficient?
By Storkme on 11/5/2008 10:00:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
a normal cell could only absorb 67.4 percent

I thought current efficiency was closer to 40%..
http://www.udel.edu/PR/UDaily/2008/jul/solar072307...




By FITCamaro on 11/5/2008 10:03:57 AM , Rating: 2
This is efficiency at just capturing light. Not converting it into electricity.


This sounds promising.
By gochichi on 11/5/2008 4:41:44 PM , Rating: 2
It's very strange to talk about efficiency of solar panels because solar energy cannot be turned off, it's there whether you have a panel to capture it or not. I get that efficiency is relevant, but it's not relevant the same way as when you're talking about coal or gasoline.

Making mechanical devices that reorient the panels obsolete technology is important if you're going to economize and do large scale use of this stuff.

The "efficiency" per say is not going to change, it's just going to have more energy coming in, whereas that energy was bouncing off otherwise. For the purposes of this technology though, it may as well be called efficiency since the main concern are the cost of the panels and the output they produce. It would be similar to having a fuel tank with a leak. The efficiency of the engine doesn't change, but in real terms... the entire system (the car in this example) is inefficient because of that leak.

I'm surprised to see so much nittpicking on this issue. I like it though, I'm impressed.




RE: This sounds promising.
By shin0bi272 on 11/5/2008 5:47:03 PM , Rating: 2
I think what the article was alluding to was that they are trying to make them more efficient by increasing the number of photons that hit the silicon instead of bouncing off of the plastic (i think its plastic) cover. They are hoping that more photons hitting the electricity producing parts will result in a more productive panel. While the actual transfer rate will remain the same for the probability of a photon hitting a silicon molecule and bouncing out an electron will remain the same you will hopefully have more photons bombarding the silicon so the probability of getting a hit will increase that way.

Its like using a minigun instead of an M249... both are belt fed machine guns but the minigun fires 4x as fast as is 9x more accurate thus making it more efficient even when they are firing the same size ammo.


By cornelius785 on 11/5/2008 11:52:55 AM , Rating: 2
I think it is great how the efficiency has been boosted, but the last time I checked, the problem of what to do when the sun isn't shining hasn't been solved completely for large scale solar distribution. I know various ideas have been proposed, but have any of them implemented on a large scale and how competitive does it look to against nuclear or even fossil fuels? I still think nuclear is the best present solution for power generation in the near term. I'm guessing fusion will become a reality one day.




Solar Cell Future
By ChuckR on 11/5/2008 1:42:27 PM , Rating: 2
So many articles on changes in this field. Read one where a company was using Solar Tubes to maintain proper angle to the sun.
tongue in cheek
The night time is no problem if the moon is shinning. I live in Las Vegas and the Strip has plenty of light. I could run my Solar car up and down a few times to charge the batteries.




What does this stuff look like?
By Cultbystol on 11/5/2008 2:16:59 PM , Rating: 2
If this stuff absorbs 96% of the light, what does the coating look like? A black nothingness? Or is 3% reflection enough to make it look nothing out of the ordinary? What color is the coating?




missing the point
By HammerFan on 11/5/2008 7:17:58 PM , Rating: 2
It seems to me that a lot of people are missing the point of not-always-available power sources. solar and wind are better implemented in the locations where they are needed, such as a house. No transmission loss, and they do not directly replace the existing power grid. Use power stations as the main source of power with solar and wind as a way to help decrease overall energy use when they are available.




Retrofitting
By FishTankX on 11/5/2008 7:27:36 PM , Rating: 2
So, this BEGS the question, can existing solar installations be sprayed down with this new coating to increase their efficency by 43%?

If so, I sense a huge demand for this stuff..




By highlandsun on 11/6/2008 7:28:55 AM , Rating: 2
A coating that allows 96% of the incident light to be absorbed is a big win, regardless of the cell's efficiency at converting light to electricity. The rest of the energy is still absorbed and converted to heat. Back the panel with water-filled plumbing and you can store that heat for other purposes. Plus, it solves the Urban Heat Island problem by keeping that heat from reflecting directly into the environment. And in sunny climates it will lower building cooling costs because again, you're trapping the heat in a fluid that you can directly control, instead of having it uniformly bake your building.




The most important question is...
By goku on 11/6/2008 7:51:38 AM , Rating: 2
Can you upgrade existing panels to feature this technology? Seems like all you'd need to do is send in your panels to them and they would apply this coating to them!




Why flat panels
By EvL OnE on 11/10/2008 4:32:04 PM , Rating: 2
Make the panels CONVEX !!!




so how about actual efficiency?
By FITCamaro on 11/5/08, Rating: -1
RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By AssBall on 11/5/08, Rating: -1
RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By LTG on 11/5/2008 10:26:13 AM , Rating: 2
When previous record efficiencies are mentioned to be around 25%, doesn't that number already assume an optimal light angle?

If so, that means this new technology would still allow only ~25%, just at more times during the day.

I don't know which but this is a big distinction!


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By kattanna on 11/5/2008 10:36:09 AM , Rating: 5
from my reading, even at optimal sun angle cells now only capture 67% of the light with the balance being lost and reflected out. the new coating does 2 things

at optimal angle it now captures 97%, instead of 67%

and even at non optimal angles it captures 97%, so therefore you no longer need mechanized panels that have to track the sun, instead allowing for much cheaper and easier maintenaince systems.

and since its a "simple" coating, it can be applied to existing cell manufacture lines to instantly boost them.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By General Disturbance on 11/5/2008 12:11:21 PM , Rating: 1
Yah, but we still have winter in the north. You still need direct incidence to get really warm.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Bruneauinfo on 11/5/2008 7:01:37 PM , Rating: 2
yeah!! and what about us Matrix fanatics that are living down here near the core of the earth where it's still warm!?!?!? it's not economically feasible to tunnel to the surface to connect any of this to our power grid!


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By jlips6 on 11/5/2008 8:49:44 PM , Rating: 2
fool, we blackened the sun anyway remember?
The robots first ran on sunlight-... wait...
QUICKLY, DESTROY THESE NEW PANELS BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By pixelslave on 11/5/2008 9:33:44 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Yah, but we still have winter in the north. You still need direct incidence to get really warm.


Solar panels need the light, not the warmness of the sun.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By AssBall on 11/6/2008 10:42:35 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe you should learn how solar panels work before you start typing. Look up INFRARED.


By TheOtherBubka on 11/5/2008 9:30:40 PM , Rating: 2
Clearing the FUD here. First, it is an accomplishment in 'extending' the angle of incidence range of anti-reflection coatings. However, in terms of increasing the efficiency of Si, all optics coating engineers will tell you a simple 1/4 wavelength anti-reflection coating will help but a 3 layer anti-reflection coating (as the authors made) is much better. For example see
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.g...
Took an InP cell and increased it's efficiency from 11.96% to 19.43%. BUT, what the authors Jason is citing here do not point out is that the processing for this type of coating is extremely expensive. Although the materials are sputtered down, the top 2 coatings of the picture have to be done at fairly oblique angles to the sputtering target where material utilization goes down and the ability to cover large areas decreases. Keep this in mind when they have had to increase the complexity substantially to accomplish what can be accomplished through other engineering methods.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By JLL55 on 11/5/2008 10:47:08 AM , Rating: 2
the 25% incorporates inefficiencies in the conversions and transmission IIRC. So this is trying for the lowest hanging fruit of absorption (increased absorption = increased electricity production). Similar to gas where a large percentage (anyone know the number) is lost to heat and light and inefficiency in force transfer (hence the things like microspray injection for gas engines increases surface area of gas molecules to all more efficient burning while the force transfer and heat and light inefficiency still exist.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By RamarC on 11/5/2008 10:38:19 AM , Rating: 5
these articles are a waste of typing! everyone knows solar will never be economically feasible just like there will never be a black US president! ;-)


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By CommodoreVic20 on 11/5/2008 10:54:32 AM , Rating: 2
I couldn't agree more. Why keep wasting money and time in research such as this, its obviously leading no where!


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By CyberHawk on 11/5/08, Rating: 0
By sprockkets on 11/5/2008 11:24:43 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe he/she was being sarcastic??????


By AnnihilatorX on 11/5/2008 11:44:00 AM , Rating: 4
Please turn on your sarcasm detector!


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By kontorotsui on 11/5/2008 4:41:50 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
solar will never be economically feasible


I find your lack of faith... disturbing.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By mfed3 on 11/5/2008 5:41:36 PM , Rating: 1
do you know what sarcasm is


By shin0bi272 on 11/5/2008 5:42:06 PM , Rating: 2
Vader let him go!


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Gzus666 on 11/5/2008 10:09:06 AM , Rating: 1
Right, but you have to ignore the "Mick Spin" (McSpin? not sure on this yet, since his name sounds one way, but is spelled another, you guys choose) as I like to call it. It could still be useful for powering little gadgets and whatnot. Also just a good innovation in general. Love to see nano-sciences progressing.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Moohbear on 11/5/2008 10:15:56 AM , Rating: 2
Sure, the cells work only during day time, but one can always convert and store the surplus energy under a different form (heat, hydrogen, whatever). The cells are just one part of the puzzle. Besides, I don't see anything wrong with developing better tech. Sunlight is plentiful and FREE! No costly extraction and transport like oil or coal or gas. It's like hydroelectricity or wind. It's not available everywhere all the time, but if it's there, why not use it?


By JonnyDough on 11/5/2008 10:23:51 AM , Rating: 4
There are multiple energies that come from the sun. It isn't just "light." Even on a cloudy day it is possible to get sunburn. The best solar techs will be able to achieve higher efficiency by capturing more multiple types of the sun's energies and radiation.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By BansheeX on 11/5/2008 12:36:30 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
No costly extraction and transport like oil or coal or gas


Don't forget that solar and wind require a lot of materials to produce, some of them exotic. Pretty sure thousands of windmills made of steel have plenty of "extraction" and "transport" and "maintenance" and "land" costs behind them. Nuclear has some of that as well, the difference is that it's a constant and friendlier power source, so the ratio of costs to power generated is 10x better with nuclear. Which makes blocking it the last thirty years look rather retarded while we inflate poor people's wages to subsidize technologies that could never hope to reach that cost efficiency even if it were sunny and windy 24/7. The real problem at the moment is not a lack of domestic energy, it's our gas powered cars. We need better battery technology pronto as well as a rapid increase in nuclear. Diverting any investment into solar or wind at this stage is a total mistake. I honestly think it's just a ruse by politicians to placate people, they only care about winning votes and looking like they're doing something.


By Moohbear on 11/5/2008 2:00:35 PM , Rating: 2
You always have a sizable investment as well as maintenance cost for a power plant, be it gas, nuclear or solar. Then you have the energy cost. A coal or gas plant will require constant supply of material to burn. A nuclear power plant will require periodic resupplying. Dams and windfarms do not.
I'm not saying wind or solar farms are cheaper to build and operate (because they're not for now), but they have a lot of headroom for lower cost and better efficiency. They're not much more you can squeeze out of a modern gas plant.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By eyebeeemmpawn on 11/5/08, Rating: 0
RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By wookie1 on 11/5/2008 11:31:12 AM , Rating: 2
What is "actual" efficiency? Do you mean thermal efficiency? Cost efficiency? Would it be cheaper to power your car with solar? It seems that the answer is no, because the panels that would be needed to do it wouldn't fit on the road (in a car that could actually be used for commuting and meet safety requirements, etc. I know that there are solar cars that universities race against each other). Gasoline is more cost effective even at 25% efficiency from the combustion engine.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Spuke on 11/5/2008 2:27:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What is "actual" efficiency?
Good luck getting an answer for this question. I've asked this many times and gotten crickets. People here don't really know what the hell they're talking about here most of the time and just throw around buzzwords. There's only a few that have good info to pass along.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Schrag4 on 11/6/2008 11:59:18 AM , Rating: 2
Let's dumb it down then. Sure, it's absorbing more light, blah blah blah. But what are solar cells USED FOR!?!?!?!? Unless you're talking about electricity output, nobody cares.

So...what everone wants to know (and nobody can pin down apparently) is how much more electricity can be produced from the same solar cells when adding this coating. Nothing else matters.

Oh, and I don't need a number, I'm just pointing out that the whole argument about what efficiency 'really is' sounds an aweful lot like saying "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is." I can't imagine that it would take more than one sentence to give a straight answer to the question.


By theapparition on 11/5/2008 11:41:45 AM , Rating: 4
But the topic is commercial generation of electricity. Don't know any place that uses gas to generate electricity for the grid.

Gasoline's benefit is that it packs a lot of energy in a compact space that is portable. Something that, so far, nothing else has been able to match. Per weight, a gallon of gas has the energy capacity of 120-200X current battery technology. So even with a 30% engine efficiency, it's still far more portable energy than with batteries.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Chipper Smoltz DT on 11/5/2008 10:33:37 AM , Rating: 2
Lots of available options for us, the better. Sure the sun might not be shining all the time but if it's sunny the energy could be stored or the excess could be diverted to the grid.

It's funny and I know this is a crazy idea but if it's raining maybe we could collect and store energy too when each drop of rain hits some material... comparing rain drops to light photons in a way.. hahaha

Light photons are particles of light right?... are there particles for darkness too or non-light? There's none that I know of but this is due to my limited knowledge. =(

Imagine if there was, then we could utilize the solar cells at night and "darkness" cells during night... then wind turbines during windy days and nights and "rain panels" when it's raining... =))


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Parhel on 11/5/2008 10:41:07 AM , Rating: 5
If there are darkness particles like photons, then there might also be non-rain drops. Then, we could have non-rain panels that would generate energy whenever it isn't raining.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Chipper Smoltz DT on 11/5/2008 11:04:23 AM , Rating: 2
Hahaha... =))

But what if there's something in darkness that could also be used to harness some form of energy eh....

As for the raindrops like photons of light... just wishful thinking eh? Seems like everything now could be converted to energy and stored in some device. Heck, maybe people walking can be a source of energy like if a "sidewalk" was built with pressure plates then each step on the pressure plate would be like activating something which would convert that to stored energy...


By TOAOCyrus on 11/5/2008 11:14:34 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah well darkness is the lack of light.. so no.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By theapparition on 11/5/2008 11:45:19 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Heck, maybe people walking can be a source of energy like if a "sidewalk" was built with pressure plates then each step on the pressure plate would be like activating something which would convert that to stored energy...

Already done. They've taken floor panels and use piezo-electric elements to convert motion into electricity. Some universities have proposed it for sidewalks, but cost is far too prohibitive.

In fact, I think DT ran an article about some club in Europe that used similar panels that lit up as people danced on them.


By Veerappan on 11/5/2008 2:55:46 PM , Rating: 2
And while we're at it, you could probably hook up some sort of small generator to the vertical spout of your rain gutters, and use the momentum of the water that is draining to generate a few watts.

It would probably be cost ineffective, and not actually be active often, but so is the idea about using piezo-electric generators as shingles on your roof.

Of course the installation/development of the drain spout generator would cost much less than re-doing your entire roof as well.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Raidin on 11/5/2008 1:04:05 PM , Rating: 2
Your rain-power idea is perfectly sound, just needs to be implemented differently. If you tried to capture the power of every rain drop on it's own, it would be very wasteful, because you'd need incredibly light material to negate as much of the force the rain drop exerts to simply move the material to create energy as possible, and you'd need to do this for as many rain drops as possible, which means an insane surface area for it to be remotely feasible or practical.

Instead, you could build a large cone to capture incoming rain and send it to a thin tube which has a paddle wheel at the end, and then you'd have yourself a mini hydroelectric power plant. =)

As far as 'dark' particles, no such thing. Light is made up of photons, darkness is made up of the lack of those photons being present. Darkness is the absence of light.

The thing most people don't usually know is that a small amount of light covering only a fraction of our planet has the potential to power the entire planet. If we get solar cells to a very high efficiency rating of light to power conversion, it wouldn't matter too much when it's dark, as the Sun will always be shining somewhere, which means power can be collected 24/7, it would just need to be distributed across the globe. This would allow virtually every solar plant on Earth to aid in powering the entire world.

Too bad we're a long way from that day.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Chipper Smoltz DT on 11/5/2008 3:06:52 PM , Rating: 2
Hey thanks for the nice reply... I appreciate it. =)

I have this other weird idea... what if we could convert sound energy into electrical energy which could be stored. Just as a microphone amplifies sound by using "something" combined with an electric current.

Maybe what we could do is set up "gadgets" like these in very noisy areas and use all those noise to convert it into electrical energy and store them as well in a certain medium.

Are sound waves similar to light waves in that they are both a particle and a wave? Coz its like the inside of the human ear right? it's like a miniature thing that "vibrates" or something like that which causes us to hear sounds in the first place?


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Raidin on 11/5/2008 3:47:08 PM , Rating: 1
You're quite welcome.

Sound is different than light in terms of it's makeup. Sound is simply a vibration in a medium, moving as a wave. In our case, that medium is air, or the atmosphere in general.

You could theoretically set up a large sheet of super-thing, super-light material that could vibrate with any sound that passes through it (like a large version of an inner ear, and translate those vibrations to energy. problem is, most sound waves have inherently low energy potential, so you couldn't really build any useful power out of it. You'd need a lot of loud sound waves, and even then, you just might be able to power a tiny light bulb, if I am using the right scale in my head.

It's just not practical.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Starcub on 11/7/2008 10:29:14 PM , Rating: 2
That "something" is a piezoelectric material. The material physically deforms due to physical stresses on the material's electronic lattice (usually due to acoustic vibration, but can be optically generated as well). As a result electrons are kicked out of the bonds and carried away by an externally applied power source. They are good signal detectors, but not good power generators.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Amiga500 on 11/5/2008 11:28:53 AM , Rating: 5
Rome wasn't built in a day.

Its an improvement, a big improvement. Add it to other improvements (like bacterial hydrogen production from water) and it will become viable some day.

Just because it isn't there yet is no reason to abandon the lot.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By FITCamaro on 11/5/08, Rating: 0
RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By chrnochime on 11/5/2008 12:59:38 PM , Rating: 1
I haven't read up on the latest nuclear power plant technology in a long time but last time I checked, there is still that little problem of safely disposing radioactive waste which contain uranium, plutonium, amongst other radioactive elements. Limitless power from reprocessing? Not like you can infinitely reprocess the waste anyway. I never do understand how nuclear proponents can just downplay the waste disposal issue when it's still impossible to make them not substantially radioactive within even 300 years, let alone 100 years.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Cuddlez on 11/5/2008 2:04:52 PM , Rating: 5
Well then start reading:

1. As a matter of fact you're right we can't reprocess it infinitely, but given the amount of Uranium we have now, using a breeder type reactor the fuel would last "several BILLION years". Not quite forever, but I'd say it's close enough. Mind you, within the next billion or so years, I'm pretty sure we'll have a working fusion reactor. Which, of course, runs off of hydrogen. And since hydrogen is the most common element in the Universe we wouldn't run out of fuel until the universe is gone. Bu by then I'm pretty sure energy production won't really matter...

2. As for reprocessing, we can (again in a breeder type reactor) reuse as much as 97% of the spent fuel. This is according to British Nuclear Fuel.

3. As for the waste, well if most of it gets re-used then there won't be as much left to worry about. And the great thing about radioactive waste... it goes away eventually! It doesn't seem like people think about it much but substances like lead, arsenic and mercury are always poisonous. They always have been, and always will be. But spent nuclear fuel, after so many years becomes relatively harmless (I wouldn't go eating it or anything).

For good info check out this website:

http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/nuclea...

And here are my references for points 1 and 2. Point 3 is basically my own deduction based on points 1 and 2.

1. http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/cohen....
2. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/647981.stm


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Starcub on 11/7/2008 10:53:46 PM , Rating: 2
I hope the 3% of the waste that they just dump into the sea isn't radioactive. If it is, I can't see how they can claim it is ok. Security and waste disposal have traditionally been a big part of the cost of nuclear power, and it sounds like they are cutting corners to make it economically viable.


By FITCamaro on 11/5/2008 3:43:26 PM , Rating: 2
For storing what little waste is left and unused after reprocessing, we've got lots of these big, giant rock things called mountains that are useless and can be made to have plenty of space inside to store it in. Preferably glassified then stored.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By werepossum on 11/5/2008 6:46:31 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
by chrnochime on November 5, 2008 at 12:59 PM
SNIP
I never do understand how nuclear proponents can just downplay the waste disposal issue when it's still impossible to make them not substantially radioactive within even 300 years, let alone 100 years.

My college chemistry professor said if we really want to dispose of nuclear waste, dilute it, put in large barrels with tiny holes, and dump it in the oceans. We don't create radioactivity, we simply concentrate it, so to safely dispose of it we simply need to un-concentrate it. He also said that would be stupid, because concentrated energy will always be valuable once we have the technology to use it.

Regarding the solar efficiency invention, I think that's a really good thing. Solar, being point-of-use, has the capability to reduce generation and transmission requirements. But it needs to get a lot cheaper to be practical even for grid peak-shaving. Right now solar is nowhere near ever paying back its cost unless you get a hefty tax break - which just means using the confiscatory power of government to subsidize your toy.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Starcub on 11/7/2008 11:08:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Right now solar is nowhere near ever paying back its cost unless you get a hefty tax break - which just means using the confiscatory power of government to subsidize your toy.

Depends on where you live and what you can afford. Solar typically has a payback period of 10-20 years (and I'm not talking about just PV panels); however the up-front costs are expensive. That's only going to improve with subsized research. But the biggest payoffs will come from better energy storage technology.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Mathos on 11/5/2008 1:24:17 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah but that old efficiency rating was based on only capturing 67% of the available light, part of the time. And due to the need to be mechanized to reach max efficiency very expensive to implement and maintain. You gotta remember though, there are no 100% efficient sources of energy.

Even internal combustion engines are at best 30% efficient in converting gas to power, due to mechanical, heat, other leakage losses. The only advantage to gas is amount of energy produced for the amount of fuel burned.

Coal or natural gas aren't exactly efficient, they lose a great deal of efficiency to mechanical loss and light loss. Though in terms of electricity production the heat energy produced is what is harvested to move the steam turbines.

And to the cloud cover thing. Yeah, cloud cover may cut down on efficiency. But, certain bands of the light spectrum penetrate cloud cover. UV is a major one, as well as infared to a lesser extent. And if they've got the panels able to capture almost 100% of the available light spectrum, that means even during heavy cloud cover they'll still capture light. Night time is always going to be an obvious short coming of solar power. But, a more efficient cost effective solar power system would prove useful, especially in the more arid area's of the world where sunlight is always abundant, as well as areas where the days last 3 months, such as Alaska or the north pole.

Also think of applications such as companies that have large flat buildings, such as factories. They could implement a solar power system on the roof's of the factories, operating of solar energy during the day, and only using conventional electricity at night, or when the output of the solar panels drops below a certain level. It would go a long way to cutting down on the carbon footprint of a lot of industries, due to using less coal power. Would also in time allow them lower overhead cost to run factories. Same could be done for many retail places. I'm sure Wal-Mart would jump on any technology that allowed them to save money by using less conventional electricity.

Not to mention they could also coat electric cars in solar electricity generating materials, allowing to be charged while driving during the day or while idle or parked. Thus, giving them longer drive ranges, and less dependency on a wall outlet or being part of a hybrid system.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By FITCamaro on 11/5/08, Rating: 0
RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Parhel on 11/5/2008 4:06:16 PM , Rating: 2
I would suggest that efficiency isn't a good way to measure the usefulness of solar power technologies. For a combustion engine, the amount of fuel that goes in has an associated cost and a fixed quantity, which is why efficiency is important. For a solar panel, the fuel is free and unlimited. I would instead judge a solar panel on the power output, the size, the cost of production, the availability of the materials needed for production, the average life span, the cost of maintenance, etc. to come up with a cost per watt.

If we were to compare energy options on cost, I would assume that today's best solar panel technology would fall far short of nuclear and fossil fuels. That said, I hope our government continues to invest in solar, so that someday the technology reaches a point where solar makes sense.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Keeir on 11/5/2008 5:26:34 PM , Rating: 2
Efficiency tells you the ratio of Power Output/Power Input. Since Power Input for Solar Power is some constant (depending on location) x size, efficiency ratios can give you a good indication of Power Output/Size. Two of your things to know


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Parhel on 11/5/2008 5:35:18 PM , Rating: 2
And I'm sure that's important to certain people, such as engineers incorporating solar panels into their products. But, where it may be useful information when comparing one solar panel to another, it doesn't help one compare solar panels to other energy technologies, such as coal.


By highlandsun on 11/6/2008 7:20:35 AM , Rating: 2
Sure it does, because it tells you how much physical area/land you'll need to match the output of some other given power plant.


RE: so how about actual efficiency?
By Doormat on 11/5/2008 4:49:33 PM , Rating: 5
The cells with this coating would be about 33-35% efficient. The absorption goes up by about 50%, to go from 67% to almost 100%.

What does this due to $/W and LCOE? Assuming panels aren't substantially more expensive than the baseline (10%?), and using 225W crystalline cells (not thin film), the $/W for the panel cost goes from $4.75/W to $3.60/W. The $1+/W reduction is a pretty big deal. Installation costs remain unchanged, so what was $7.50/W total cost is now $6.35/W.

On a small sized project (5MW) the LCOE is about $250/MWh before any state or local tax credits or other incentives. In comparison, the price for peak afternoon power in California this summer was between $125 and $175/MWh.

Once you figure that the ITC, PTC and other incentives combine for an approximate 17% reduction in cost of power over the baseline $250/MWh, the adjusted price after subsidies comes to $207/MWh.

Advances like this will keep solar on track for grid parity for sometime between 2015 and 2018. Meanwhile, solar thermal could probably hit parity sooner, maybe 2013, though growth in the area has been slower than I had expected. But that goes for most companies the past 3-6 months.

It it were to work for thin film just as well, it could be a huge boost - taking $1/W thin film cells that are 12% efficient and making them 17% efficient would be huge, reducing panel $/W to 75c/W. This would put thin film on the fast track to grid parity.

Does that answer your question?


LOL
By Crusty on 11/5/08, Rating: -1
RE: LOL
By icanhascpu on 11/5/2008 4:15:21 PM , Rating: 4
No one cares what you have to say if you didnt even take the time to read it.


“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs

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