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Cleantech's solar array will be seven times larger than the next closest rival

Portugal announced in April that it was home to one of the world's largest solar arrays. The 150 acre, 11-megawatt (MW) solar plant was built by Catavento and PowerLight Corporation and is capable of powering 8,000 homes in Serpa.

Cleantech America LLC., a San Francisco-based company, plans to build a solar farm that would far eclipse the one built in Portugal. The new 80 MW farm, known as the Kings River Conservation District Community Choice Solar Farm, will be situated on 640 acres of land and is scheduled to be completed by 2011.

"We're pretty confident that solar farms on this scale are going to have an industry-changing impact," said Cleantech CEO Bill Barnes. "We think it's the wave of the future. This scale of project, I think, creates a tipping point for renewable energy."

"We think the impact for it will be similar to the impact of the computer chip," Barnes continued. "So too will economies of scale like the Community Choice farm drive down the cost of solar."

Cleantech estimates that the energy generated by the solar array will be enough to power 20,000 homes.

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Maybe this is just necessary
By DeepBlue1975 on 7/10/2007 1:04:54 PM , Rating: 2
While not economically or even energy wise efficient, I think steps like this are necessary if we want this technology to get out of its "cool but yet almost experimental" status.
For a poorly used technology that's "expensive" like this one to become mainstream, you need to attract large investments which enable you to get into faster R&D cycles which will allow the technology itself to be perfected and get more efficient quicker.
If solar power technology is constantly ranted at because of its bad efficiency, large investments won't come and no deep R&D will be done, so that it won't improve fast enough and will die, but die not because it's a bad technology bat rather because no one wants it to give it a chance of realizing at least a part of its potential.

Just a thought.

RE: Maybe this is just necessary
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 1:44:20 PM , Rating: 2
An interesting idea, but it presupposes that further R&D will result in an economically viable outcome. The very fact that it is so uncertain is the reason the R&D is "only" at the level it is today and not any higher.

By DeepBlue1975 on 7/10/2007 2:13:53 PM , Rating: 2
I was talking in the line of something like this:

Specifically this part:

With further advances, the new plastic "could allow up to 30 percent of the sun's radiant energy to be harnessed, compared to 6 percent in today's best plastic solar cells," said Peter Peumans, a Stanford University electrical engineering professor, who studied the work.

This article was from 2005, I don't know what became of this, but I guess new advances in nanotech (which obviously has a very good budget support by now, as novelties in this field come almost every week) can help technologies like this to get vastly improved.

I don't say "go full speed now with solar power" but rather something like "don't ditch it just yet and allow some margin of trial and error and R&D, as new advances in other fields could help this in particular to become so much more promising".
Solar power is a very nice idea, I think the only problem lies in the way we're processing it right now.

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