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The future of solar is looking much brighter

Solar power is taking off around the world.  Europe is planning to deploy various types of solar power to the Sahara to provide for the European Union's energy needs.  Meanwhile, here in the U.S., California is expanding its solar efforts as well.

However, amid the progressing adoption of solar technology, one perpetual criticism that persists is that solar power is inefficient and expensive.  To some extents this is true.  The current generation of photovoltaic solar panels -- the type of solar power perhaps most associated with the field -- is only around 20 percent efficient and thus costs remain relatively high, like many forms of alternative energy.

A new breakthrough from U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is looking to solve those problems.  It pushes solar cells to uncharted technology with a record 40.8 percent efficiency.  The new work shatters all previous records for photovoltaic device efficiencies.

The researchers first used a special type of cell, an inverted metamorphic triple-junction solar cell.  The custom cell was designed, fabricated, and independently measured at NREL.  The next step was to expose the solar cell to concentrated light of 326 suns, yielding the record-breaking efficiency.  A sun is a common measure in the solar power industry which represents the amount of light that hits the Earth on average.

The new cell targets a variety of markets.  One potential market is the satellite solar panel business.  Satellites natural absorb more intense sunlight, thanks to no atmospheric interference.  Another possible application is deployment in commercial concentrated PV cells.  Concentrated PV is a burgeoning field, with several companies currently contracted worldwide to build the first utility grade plants.

The new record was welcome news, but little surprise at NREL -- they held the previous record as well.  In order to beat their old design, one key was to replace the germanium wafer at the bottom junction with a composite of gallium indium phosphide and gallium indium arsenide.  The mixture splits the spectrum into three parts, each of which gets absorbed by one of the junctions.  Both the middle and bottom junction become metamorphic in the new design.  This means their crystal lattices are misaligned, trapping light in the junction and absorbing more of it.  This yields an optimal efficiency.

One key advantage is the new solar cell can be conveniently processed by growth on a gallium arsenide wafer.  It is also both thin and light.  The NREL believes this cell will be cheaper than current commercial models, while delivering far more power.

Some of the credit for the work goes to NREL's Mark Wanlass, who invented the cell's predecessor.  The new cell was redesigned by a team led by John Geisz.

The NREL is operated by the DOE by Midwest Research Institute and Battelle.



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One thing I don't get...
By Oralen on 8/18/2008 7:36:02 AM , Rating: 3
That efficiency record was, as far as I understand, obtained by submitting the solar cell to light equivalent to 326 suns, right...

Does that record still hold when the light is just 1 sun ? Like... Mmm, simply putting it outdoor ?

Because if it doesn't... That thing will only be usefull in a lab.




RE: One thing I don't get...
By trajan on 8/18/2008 7:45:52 AM , Rating: 5
It does sound like they needed the 300+ suns of light to get it up to 40% efficiency but its still a nice feat. Aside from the usefulness in space, as pointed out, maybe these would be useful in combination with reflecting mirrors. Not necessarily one of those giant arrays they build out in deserts, but picture a satellite-dish sized reflector with a very small cell at the focal point. A 1 cm^2 cell would only need ~350 cm^2 worth reflector to hit the right efficiency. And instead of building a huge solar cell you can build a tiny one - cost savings.

Just brainstorming, I have no idea if the cell that built would actually be able to work that way, but just because you need all the extra light doesn't mean this isn't still good news. (If they got 40% efficiency using normal sunlight, with an easy to manufacture design, that would have been on the front page of most major newspapers, I'd wager).


RE: One thing I don't get...
By 67STANG on 8/18/2008 11:12:57 AM , Rating: 3
That's exactly the problem, these aren't easy to manufacture- nor are any multi-junction solar cell. (That's why they cost so much). These are typically only used in government or space appliactions as it's cheaper to run twice as many panels than it is to run twice as efficient panels.

Not really sure this is too terribly exciting news, the work that the Idaho National Laboratory did that could possibly yield 80% efficiency through a combination of light and heat absorption is much more promising...


RE: One thing I don't get...
By freaqie on 8/18/2008 2:43:24 PM , Rating: 2
A 1 cm^2 cell would only need ~350 cm^2 worth reflector to hit the right efficiency. And instead of building a huge solar cell you can build a tiny one - cost savings.

why not put a boiler down there instead and a turbine hooked up to a generator
and get 75+ percent efficiency
or a stirling engine... 80% efficient...

it is a nice idea but others are just better


RE: One thing I don't get...
By PKmjolnir on 8/18/2008 7:47:48 AM , Rating: 2
It will be useful outside the lab too, you just need to redirect 326m² of sunlights with mirrors per one m² of PV, the mirrors are cheaper than PV either way, with a slight cost increase induced by PV cooling systems.

The concept is not that new.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concentrated_Photovol...


RE: One thing I don't get...
By legoman666 on 8/18/2008 11:43:37 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed. A hemisphere of diameter 14.5cm would be enough to concentrate 330cm^2 of light (assuming the entire hemisphere receives light, which it won't.) onto a 1cm^2 panel. That's hardly huge.

Instead of a big satellite dish in the backyard, maybe we'll have a few solar dishes in the future...


RE: One thing I don't get...
By Solandri on 8/18/2008 6:58:51 PM , Rating: 2
Until the sun moves and the light is now missing your 1 cm^2 solar panel. The problem with reflectors as concentrators is that they need to track the movement of the sun, with all the problems that come with collimation, mechanical gearing, maintenance, and alignment to cancel out the earth's rotation and revolution.

That's why the article a couple weeks back on windows as solar collectors with the PV in the edges was so promising. Those didn't need to track the sun. You could just mount them and forget about them.


RE: One thing I don't get...
By MarkHark on 8/18/2008 7:24:25 PM , Rating: 2
I believe in this case parabolic would be a more efficient design than hemispheric.
But you got the general idea right.


RE: One thing I don't get...
By djc208 on 8/18/2008 7:50:25 AM , Rating: 2
Well the article discusses using reflectors to concentrate sunlight at these vice just put them in the sun. Of course that would increase the cost and area required vs a conventional solar pannel.


RE: One thing I don't get...
By PKmjolnir on 8/18/2008 8:10:20 AM , Rating: 2
You think 100m² of top grade super efficient photovoltaics really would come cheaper than 0,3m² of said PVs and 100m² of light gathering optics?


RE: One thing I don't get...
By masher2 (blog) on 8/18/2008 9:47:12 AM , Rating: 2
Normally it is more expensive, yes. A solar cell receiving 300+ suns of heat needs active cooling just to survive, and even still it's lifetime is shortened. It also needs a tracking mechanism as the optics tend to have a low angle of acceptance.

Furthermore, these ultra-efficient concentrating cells are made from multi-junction PVs, which are substantially more costly than your more typical cells.


RE: One thing I don't get...
By blaster5k on 8/18/2008 9:55:19 AM , Rating: 2
This is the comment I was waiting for -- the other side of the story. You know what they say about things that sound too good to be true.


RE: One thing I don't get...
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/18/2008 11:30:57 AM , Rating: 2
Not necessarily -- an Aussie company Sungri claims that it uses a nanotech material cooling mechanism to allow its cells to endure 3,000 F temperatures. They say their system will provide solar power at a cost of 5 cents per kilowatt hour within a year.

Source:
http://cleantechnica.com/2008/05/10/solar-power-go...

They may not achieve their ambitious goals, but they're either onto something or making a lot of big claims.

Also pared down models with lower concentrating factors, while sporting lower efficiencies should be able to survive their operational temperatures without elaborate cooling and offer more modest decreases in solar costs over traditional PV.

You're absolutely right that there's obstacles, but there's also a lot of progress in the field of concentrated PV, you must admit.


RE: One thing I don't get...
By kattanna on 8/18/2008 11:45:54 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
cells to endure 3,000 F temperatures.


if they are getting those temps, wouldnt it be more effective to be converting that heat into making steam to drive a turbine instead of trying to cool a small PV cell capturing the light?


RE: One thing I don't get...
By 306maxi on 8/18/2008 11:53:31 AM , Rating: 2
I was thinking that myself.


RE: One thing I don't get...
By masher2 (blog) on 8/18/2008 12:22:16 PM , Rating: 2
> "an Aussie company Sungri claims that it uses a nanotech material cooling mechanism..."

A) This is just a claim so far.
B) Cooling is still required; it's just (supposedly) done by a somewhat cheaper method.
C) Active tracking is still required.
D) Multi-junction cells are still required.
E) Concentrating PV doesn't work in cloudy conditions, whereas normal PVs produce at least a fraction of peak power.

So far, concentrated PV being feasible for commercial power generation is still just a pipe dream. It'll take much, much more than a 0.1% increase in efficiency to realize such a solution.


RE: One thing I don't get...
By haris on 8/18/2008 9:24:51 AM , Rating: 2
It's really hard to get sarcasm/bad jokes sometimes, so ignore this if you can read:
A sun is a common measure in the solar power industry which represents the amount of light that hits the Earth on average.


RE: One thing I don't get...
By Fracture on 8/19/2008 4:12:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That efficiency record was, as far as I understand, obtained by submitting the solar cell to light equivalent to 326 suns, right... Does that record still hold when the light is just 1 sun ? Like... Mmm, simply putting it outdoor ? Because if it doesn't... That thing will only be usefull in a lab.


Most large scale solar power farms refract light off a number of mirrors instead of individual solar collectors. The light is redirected from each of these mirrors to a central point where all the solar energy is focused onto a container containing a salt solution. This energy is so great it turns it into molten salt, whose thermal energy can then be harnessed in a number of ways.

If you really want to break it down, 326 suns is just like having 325 mirrors (plus normal exposure) focus their light onto one point, a practice that is already in use today.


No big deal
By DigitalFreak on 8/18/2008 8:12:17 AM , Rating: 2
I believe the previous record was 40.7%, so I'd hardly say this is uncharted territory.




RE: No big deal
By nah on 8/18/2008 8:32:02 AM , Rating: 3
the important thing is that there's progress--the first cells in 1884 had an efficiency of only 1 %--by the 1950s/60s this had reached 5 %--these cost USD 286/watt. Improvements in performance brought the price down further from USD 100/watt in 1971 to USD 7/watt by 1985--nowadays an entire system costs about USD 9/watt (individual)--if placed in a PV farm the costs are even lower (around USD 6/watt)

Interestingly the development of PVs owes much to two American inventors- Charles Fritts and Russel Ohl

quote:
Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), “the father of the electrical age”, said: “We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fences around our house for fuel when we should be using nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy—sun, wind and tide. I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”


RE: No big deal
By FITCamaro on 8/18/08, Rating: -1
RE: No big deal
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/18/2008 9:56:04 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
If cars followed the same path we'd still be driving Ford Model Ts.


What are you talking about?

In 1908 the Model T was released with a fuel economy of 17 miles per gallon city. Today, the Toyota Camry gets around 22 MPG city. The top speed has certainly increased greatly, but the efficiency has not.

Source:
http://www.dailyfueleconomytip.com/miscellaneous/1...

If you compare solar to the auto industry:

Solar
1 percent to 40.8 percent --> 4,080 % increase in efficiency

Automotive
17 MPG to 22 MPG --> 29.5 % increase in efficiency.

I think the winner is pretty clear, on the contrary to your remarks.


RE: No big deal
By ebakke on 8/18/2008 10:17:22 AM , Rating: 2
There are far more things involved with automobiles than purely fuel economy. Interior comforts/luxuries, storage space, towing capacity, safety features, etc. To make the insinuation that today's Toyota Camry is only marginally better than a 1908 Model T is asinine.


RE: No big deal
By nah on 8/18/2008 10:31:17 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
There are far more things involved with automobiles than purely fuel economy. Interior comforts/luxuries, storage space, towing capacity, safety features, etc. To make the insinuation that today's Toyota Camry is only marginally better than a 1908 Model T is asinine.


That may be correct--but you haven't looked at the other side of the equation--what was the price of a Model T in 1908--around USD 850, which, when adjusted for inflation is around USD 18,000 today--not much lesser than a Camry, while offering much fewer benefits. In contrast, the price of a solar cell has fallen by almost a hundred times (10.000 % ) over the last fifty years--while improving (in average efficiency) over 400%. Comparing between industries is moot--has the healthcare industry improved as dramatically as the IT one ? As someone said, if cars advanced as fast as processors a Rolls Royce would cost about USD 15, be more powerful than a train, could go around the world 2500 times on a tankful of petrol,and be so small that 6 could be parked on this full stop. Needles to say--it's only passengers would be microbes, or high ranking bacteria ;)


RE: No big deal
By ebakke on 8/18/2008 12:40:36 PM , Rating: 3
Sure, but you're comparing the first mass produced automobile to the first produced solar cells.

quote:
Comparing between industries is moot

I agree wholeheartedly that cross-industry comparisons provide little benefit. In fact, that was my whole point.


RE: No big deal
By blaster5k on 8/18/2008 10:44:54 AM , Rating: 2
That's not even close to a fair comparison. The efficiency of the engines themselves is much better today. They last much longer. The performance is much higher. Way more safety features and creature comforts are in the cars themselves. Emission controls didn't even exist on the Model T. Modern ULEVs and PZEVs emit next to nothing.

The curb weight of a Model T is 1,200 lb. The Camry you mention is 3,300 lb. Obviously the extra weight is a factor in this particular comparison. Of course, some of that extra weight is necessary just to meet emissions and safety standards that exist today.


RE: No big deal
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/18/2008 10:53:24 AM , Rating: 5
Entirely, correct, my point was not to provide a fair comparison, just to point out that

A) Comparing solar cells and cars is comparing apples and oranges.

and

B) To knock any field for *only* increasing its efficiency by 4000+ percent over 100 years is ridiculous.

Obviously cars today have advanced greatly since the days of the Model T, but its very subjective to try to say what has advanced more in that time period, cars or solar power.


RE: No big deal
By masher2 (blog) on 8/18/2008 12:55:18 PM , Rating: 5
> "The top speed has certainly increased greatly, but the efficiency has not."

Jason, please stop spreading FUD. The original Model T weighed about 1,200 pounds and had only a 20 hp engine. It lacked not only all the safety featured mandated by thousands of DOT regulations, but also the vast amount of emission reducing controls, which also reduce mileage. It ran on a leaded non-oxygenated, non-reformulated, non-ethanolized gasoline that offers substantially higher MPG than the blend sold today. Finally, the MPG testing requirements today are far more stringent than those originally implemented a hundred years ago. Just the difference in testing alone can account for a 40% margin.

A modern car engine itself is far more efficient than one from 1915. Strip the emissions controls off a Camry engine, put it in a lightweight Model T, and run it on the same non-oxygenated gasoline, and you'll see city mileages about three times higher than the original engine would receive. Given the basic Carnot efficiency limit on any heat engine, that's an extraordinary increase.


RE: No big deal
By goku on 8/18/2008 4:50:19 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong, they did not have leaded fuel until the 1930s. Also about the price of the model T, it got down to around $300 per car in the mid 1920s so it was a very very cheap car by the time the 1920s rolled by. Also the model T could run on 100% ethanol or gasoline so there was no need for leaded fuel, leaded fuel was added later on as a cheap octane booster for lower quality fuels.


RE: No big deal
By masher2 (blog) on 8/18/2008 7:22:43 PM , Rating: 2
> "Wrong, they did not have leaded fuel until the 1930s."

Sorry, but ethyl leaded gas was first sold in 1923:

http://www.radford.edu/%7Ewkovarik/papers/ethylcon...

> "Also the model T could run on 100% ethanol "

Sure. And it would have gotten about 30% less mileage as a result. It would get about 4% less mileage running on today's gas oxygenated with 10% ethanol. The point is valid.


RE: No big deal
By ZmaxDP on 8/18/2008 5:31:20 PM , Rating: 2
FUD huh?

I'm bothered by the implication that somehow efficiency is what drives the value of photovoltaic panels. Unlike other energy sources, we aren't charged for the amount of sun falling on our roofs. So, efficiency is not all that important once past a certain threshold. What might that be? The point at which the surface area available for collection provides enough energy to meet your demand. Efficiency is already at a point where you can power a home from significantly less than 100% of your roof area. For commercial buildings or power generation purposes, efficiency is more important (much higher demand for a given surface area - duh).

The problem currently is one of price/kW. Because of the high price of panels, it takes too long in most markets to get a full payback. So, people don't do it.

Unfortunately, I'm not fully aware of the costs that go into making solar panels, so I have no idea why they are at their current price point. Typically, increasing the volume of a manufactured good decreases the price to produce it. If such an increase could result in a net decrease in cost of 50%(ish) you'd see a very different reality. Alas, it's all "what if" until it happens...


RE: No big deal
By theapparition on 8/18/2008 7:54:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Efficiency is already at a point where you can power a home from significantly less than 100% of your roof area.

First off......what's signifigantly less. 50%? 30%?

Second, there is no way you can completely power an average home strictly from solar power. Even in the best latitudes, homes that barely make a surplus from the day require far more than that surplus to use at night. Plus you have to factor in weather and cloud cover.

Notice I say average home, I'm sure you'll find some eco-freak who runs an exercise bike at night to power his TV and doesn't draw from the grid, but the average home will require being hooked to the grid, even if they had 125% coverage.


RE: No big deal
By fic2 on 8/18/2008 7:10:35 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting that you compare a one off/laboratory solar cell to a mass produced commercially available car. Why not compare most efficient in the world solar cell to the most efficient in the world car? That would be the Microjoule getting 8,923 miles per gallon (as far as I could find).

In that case your auto goes from
17 MPG to 8923 MPG --> 52,488% increase in efficiency
somewhat better than your 29.5%


The European...
By SilthDraeth on 8/18/2008 9:08:10 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Solar power is taking off around the world. The European is planning to deploy various types of solar power to the Sahara to provide for the European Union's energy needs.


Does the European run the EU?




RE: The European...
By FITCamaro on 8/18/08, Rating: 0
RE: The European...
By FITCamaro on 8/19/2008 6:49:22 AM , Rating: 2
Apparently no one got the sarcasm here.


RE: The European...
By Schrag4 on 8/18/2008 9:50:09 AM , Rating: 2
This is obviously a typo. He obviously meant to emphasize so that it would be easier to read:

...THE European...


RE: The European...
By THE European on 8/18/2008 11:59:49 AM , Rating: 5
Thank you for properly recognizing me.


RE: The European...
By foxtrot9 on 8/18/2008 12:56:09 PM , Rating: 2
Does HE also wear a speedo?


RE: The European...
By mmatis on 8/18/2008 4:57:22 PM , Rating: 2
You don't REALLY want to know the answer to that question.


ROI Geek.
By Mitch101 on 8/18/2008 10:23:32 AM , Rating: 2
Educate me.

Last time I looked at solar panels it would cost and arm and a leg even with a gov kickback and before you could recoup the value of your investment the batteries would have been replaced and when all is said and done the panels would need replacement. You would save the earth but never really recoup the cost of investment.

Is there a math geek in here who can calculate or point me to a link on the ROI and the potential ROI on a 40% efficient solar panel? Maybe even factor in some solar days for where I live?

Seems someone good at this stuff could come out with a calculator that you could plug in cost/efficiency/etc and it spits out how long it will take to recoup the cost of investment if there is a recoup.

TIA




RE: ROI Geek.
By Doormat on 8/18/2008 11:14:49 AM , Rating: 2
Sharp has a calculator on their website.

http://www.sharpusa.com/solar/home/0,2462,,00.html


RE: ROI Geek.
By Spuke on 8/18/2008 1:32:34 PM , Rating: 2
It looks like almost 11 years for me with a 3kW system. I live in SoCal.


RE: ROI Geek.
By Doormat on 8/18/2008 1:36:59 PM , Rating: 2
Yea I'm at 17 years in LV for a larger system (5kW). Which means I definitely wont be buying it for my house now, but could get one for when I move into my next house.


RE: ROI Geek.
By Spuke on 8/18/2008 5:25:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
but could get one for when I move into my next house.
That's what we're thinking about doing too. It makes more sense that way.


The solution
By JosefTor on 8/18/2008 8:25:07 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know about the new photovoltaic cell but it turns out they found a very key link that could stop global warming! All we have to do is clone the sun!!! Seems like a one two punch for me. In one swipe we can have more solar power efficiency and to the many wish of enviro-jugernauts we will kill the primary creator of pollution... humans! j/k about that

In all honesty though, it sounds like great news and I'm very happy to hear it. I wonder if this will make solar power cost effective even without the subsidiary.




RE: The solution
By Jellodyne on 8/18/2008 10:30:33 AM , Rating: 2
Its more complicated than that -- we need to clone the sun 325 times. But think of how powerful Superman would be, exposed to that many yellow suns.


RE: The solution
By Hare on 8/18/2008 1:53:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
that could stop global warming!

Stop global warming by cloning 352 more suns? You sound like a true environmentalist ;)


Whoa
By solarman on 8/18/2008 11:19:42 AM , Rating: 2
Ok I have to interject here. Many here have a good idea of the costs and real meaning behind the efficiencies but are not putting the correct information together to paint a healthy picture of where the industry stands, and what this new cell can do for it.

First of all the average price/watt for solar is $4-$6 so let’s say $5. This is in med to large quantities (i.e. a whole roof or more). The average payback for solar depends on the subsidies you get and the way your LDC (local distribution company) pays you for the solar (if at all). Some will net-meter and pay you only when you use negative energy (i.e. you are pumping out more from the panel than in). This will not help with payback periods. Some places will not net-meter and will pay you for the total output of your panels regardless of what you are using (i.e. a separate contract that does not involve the previous one for electricity usage).

But, the industry is almost completely large scale applications, in areas where the total VALUE of the electricity generated by solar (PV, CPV, CSP, SWH) is high enough to counter the actual dollar value which at best pays back in 15-20 years for PV, and about 0.6 to 1/2 that amount for CPV, and even less for CSP.

These cells in this article refer to 300+ suns because they are designed for CPV (Concentrating PhotoVoltaics) which use reflectors or mirrors or lenses (Fresnel) to concentrate the light by up to 500 suns!

Cells that are already 35% or more in efficiency at 500 suns do not need liquid cooling, and those companies wise enough to incorporate liquid cooling will have found a great source of SWH (solar water heating) which increases the value of their investment and decreases their payback period significantly, and thus increasing the total efficiency of the panel to beyond 40%.

Get real, do your homework, and make money off this industry. Plain and Simple.




RE: Whoa
By 67STANG on 8/18/2008 3:46:22 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with most of what you say. I was paying around $4.30/watt buying in bulk....

The biggest problem I've found with solar is that the hotter tha panel is, the lower it's efficiency gets-- that's just the way it works.

Another issue I see is that residential solar doesn't always pay back. I don't know a lot of people that stay in their house for 15-20 years. (Americans move an average of every 5 years). That means you have to hope you can upsell your house to make any extra money. If you are building your dream home that you plan on keeping for quite some time, then I can see it paying back-- assuming you have the upfront capital to invest.

Unfortunately with Europe (especially Germany) swallowing up many of the 160w and up panels, it really drives up the price for use "poor" Americans-- especially with our weakened dollar. What the solar industry really needs is more mass production-- something that it has been lacking since its birth. Cheaper materials wouldn't hurt either, much like the "CIGS" developed in South Africa. I wonder if they've began making those 1,000 panels a day they promised over 2 years ago.


RE: Whoa
By IReviewer on 8/18/2008 3:52:11 PM , Rating: 2
Metering may be needed most places since as with wind-power, fluctuations in supply to the grid can have adverse affects. Not certain where the control would need to be since wind-farms represent large units. Net-metering could be delayed by this factor.


Concentrated light of 326 suns
By ViroMan on 8/18/2008 7:21:06 AM , Rating: 2
wow that's some HOT stuff!




Indium
By ineedaname on 8/18/2008 4:14:25 PM , Rating: 2
I remember reading an article on DT not too long ago that says we only have about 10 years left of indium supply to meet our current needs. Seeing how indium is used in all lcd monitors. Well if that's true then I doubt these panels will be viable unless there's some lcd recycling program to recover indium or something.




Blah
By BansheeX on 8/19/2008 3:44:25 AM , Rating: 2
I'm so tired of Mick's incessant socialist pie in the sky coverage of wind, solar, and biofuels. The drawbacks and inherent weaknesses of them are apparent, which makes the coverage they get seem disproportionate to real solutions like electric engines and nuclear power. Stop taking my money to subsidize, leave it in the earner's hands and make industry fight to win it from me. I guarantee the best solution will win.




A new record ??
By masher2 (blog) on 8/18/2008 12:17:49 PM , Rating: 1
> "a record 40.8 percent efficiency. The new work shatters all previous records for photovoltaic device efficiencies."

The University of Delaware was claiming efficiencies of 42.8% (a full 2% higher) over a year ago:

http://solarhope.wordpress.com/2007/08/01/from-407...




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