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US DOE helps fund advanced solar technology

Solar cell technology has always shown promise as a source of renewable energy but relatively low efficiency levels and high costs have kept it out of the mainstream energy market. The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that with the help of government funding, Boeing-Spectrolab has demonstrated a concentrator solar cell with a record-breaking 40.7% efficiency rating.

With concentrator solar cells, sunlight is intensified with the use of an optical concentrator. This allows for more electricity to be extracted out of each solar cell. Also employed are multi-junction solar cell structures which allow more of the solar spectrum to be captured by using multiple layers per cell. Each layer in a cell is then able to capture a segment of sunlight allowing for more efficient electricity production.

“Reaching this milestone heralds a great achievement for the Department of Energy and for solar energy engineering worldwide. We are eager to see this accomplishment translate into the marketplace as soon as possible, which has the potential to help reduce our nation’s reliance on imported oil and increase our energy security,” said Assistant Secretary Karsner.

With this new technology, the DOE is projecting that installation costs for these types of solar cells would drop to $3 per watt with electricity costing 8 to 10 cents per kWh. The long-term goal is to have solar energy technology installed in as many as two million American homes providing power at 5 to 10 cents per kWh by the year 2015.

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By ADDAvenger on 12/7/2006 11:59:20 AM , Rating: 2
Take a look in anandtech's forums, either general hardware or graphics, and you'll find that power requirements are nowhere near the doom and gloom KW predictions.

You can most likely SLi GTXs with a sweet 550W PSU. It's not the wattage, but how many amps the 12v rails are rated for. (I'm pretty sure it's the 12v rails anyway, like I said, take a look yourself)

By ZoZo on 12/7/2006 1:51:24 PM , Rating: 2
p(Watts) = u(Volts) * i(Amperes), so with u constant at 12V, more Watts = proportionately more Amperes.
Therefore it is the wattage.

By ADDAvenger on 12/7/2006 1:56:46 PM , Rating: 2

It's not the total wattage of the PSU that matters, but the wattage of the rails that run the graphics card(s).

By masteraleph on 12/7/2006 2:16:13 PM , Rating: 2
p(Watts) = u(Volts) * i(Amperes), so with u constant at 12V, more Watts = proportionately more Amperes.

True. But the point is that if you use a PSU that puts a lot more power on the 12V lines and not much on the others, then you don't need something with a high wattage rating/power useage. You could make a 1Kw PSU that wouldn't power an SLI system, or a 550w one that would, depending on how the power is distributed.

By Oregonian2 on 12/7/2006 2:23:40 PM , Rating: 2
PC power supplies put out multiple voltages and modern ones have more than one +12 output (currently the most important one because it is used for the on-board regulators that produce the "core" voltages that consume most of the power (and powers the hard drive motors)). So a new supply could cut back on the over-all power rating but still be capable of putting out more current where it's important (+12). The new ones do away completely with one of the negative voltage outputs. In any case it's only a rating, a 300W load will take only 300W whether the power supply is rated 500W or 1000W. Just a better operating MTBF on the latter (probably).

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