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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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RE: SLI?
By masteraleph on 12/7/2006 2:16:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
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.


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