Posted on

Solar Energy Gaining Ground

Many green thinkers view solar power as being a primary solution to world energy problems. Google is installing a fairly large1.6 Mega Watt (MW) solar power generation plant on the roof of their headquarters. Walmart is seeking proposals for a much larger 100 MW system. Lanner Corporation is planning to use Sun Power Corporation solar panels in a California subdivision. These projects are being considered in part by federal alternate energy tax credits.
Large-scale solar generation systems are an iffy financial investment. Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are still developing. PV cells directly convert solar energy to electrical energy. The manufacture of the PV panel is analogous to the manufacture of computer memory chips. Using that analogy, the cost of these PV cells will decrease greatly in time and the efficiency will increase. Pilot facilities to test large-scale PV generation plants should limited to wealthy corporations. Image enhancement and tax credits being the primary motivation.

PV solar cell technology is much closer to becoming a cost effective power generation alternative that I would recommend. Spectro Labs, a subsidiary of Boeing, is currently manufacturing triple junction PV panels with over 28% efficiency. The increased efficiency is due to the three-junction design expanding the useful light spectrum for photovoltaic conversion. Based on that design, Spectro Labs recently set a new world record with a 40.3 percent efficiency PV solar cell.

This efficiency is approaching maximum efficiency. Meaning the probability of another huge leap in PV solar cell efficiency is less likely. The cost of the triple junction devices is very high at this time. The devices are based on pure Germanium crystal substrates. If the triple junction technology can be adapted to polycrystalline substrates, the cost will drop dramatically.

The polycrystalline based triple junction devices will have a lower efficiency than the pure crystal design. That reduction in efficiency will be completely offset by the dramatic cost reduction. The average efficiency of a polycrystalline triple junction PV solar cell should be in the order of 30 percent, well above Sun Power Corporation’s model A315’s 21% efficiency.

The corporate solar energy ventures will help spur a demand for increase solar panel manufacture. If enough demand can be created through tax credits, cost of the panels can reduce making solar energy options much more appealing for the general public.

Solar energy as an affordable alternative is rapidly approaching a reality. The next generation of affordable triple junction solar cells should be the key to igniting an explosion in worldwide solar power plant construction.


Posted on

Nanosolar Announces First Shipment

Nanosolar announces the shipping of their first solar panels. Martin Roscheisen, CEO of Nanosolar issued a press release on December 18th announcing the first shipment of the company’s innovative thin film solar panels
Five years have elapsed from the start of Nanosolar to its first shipment. The innovative printing press manufacturing style pioneered by the company promises to set the standard for affordable photovoltaic solar energy. Roscheisen estimates prices as low as $0.99 per watt for its product.

This is a big day for solar power fans. The long awaited word from Nanosolar, Inc. signals the true start of affordable solar power production. With a 25 year warrantee, the cost of the electricity produced could be on a par with current utility cost per kilowatt hour. A remarkable achievement for Nanosolar.

Mr. Roscheisen, also announced his plans for the first three commercially produced panels. The first will be displayed at the company’s California headquarters. The second is being auctioned on eBay with proceeds going to charity. The third will be donated to the Tech Museum in San Jose, California.

The first shipment of Nanosolar Utility Panels™ will be used for a one Megawatt municipal power project in Eastern Germany.

“This is the first time that a solar electricity cell and panel has been designed entirely and specifically for utility-scale power generation,” said Martin Roscheisen, CEO of Nanosolar. “It will set the standard for green power generation at utility scale.” See full press release

SolarPly™, flexible thin film panels are also now available. The light weight SolarPly™panels are stated to have solderless power connections. These panels can be trimmed to any size greatly increasing potential applications.

Nanosolar, Inc. is privately held with manufacturing facilities in San Jose, California and near Berlin, Germany. Product technical information is limited to qualified volume customers. Products currently available are the Nanosaolar Utility Panel™ and SolarPly™. Visit Nanosolar’s website for more information.

This article was submitted for non-payment. Associated Content has not reviewed and does not endorse the views of this author.

Posted on

Coal-Burning Power Plants Dangerous for Your Health

Besides having a big carbon footprint, power plants that burn fossil fuels such as coal, release a large amount of cancer causing pollutants into the year annually. This is why the environmental protection agency has decided to issue new guidelines regulating the amount and types of pollutants released into the air by fossil fuel burning power plants by November 2011. This action however, was not initiated by the EPA, but rather in response to lawsuits filed by organizations concerned with the public health hazard posed, which stated that the EPA was not updating their pollution laws in accordance with the Clean Air Act.
Owners and operators of coal and oil power plants are obviously concerned that they will be unable to afford the expensive changes needed. However, increased rates of lung cancer and other types of cancer are an unacceptable result to accept just to run a profitable power plant. If it becomes too expensive for owners of coal burning power plants to continue production of electricity, this could make other types of electric energy production such as geothermal and solar energy much less expensive.

In fact, President Obama recently stated that the nation that develops green technology first, will become a global economic leader. The true cost of coal and oil burning power plants may be much more than just an increased carbon footprint and global warming, but maybe harming the health of the average American. While secondhand smoke has recently been proved to dramatically increase the rates of heart attacks, and other medical conditions due to smoking, it is likely that the pollutants release by coal and oil burning power plants causes a certain amount of disease, and even deaths, each year in the United States.

In fact, one study suggest that the pollution from coal power plants kills approximately 30,000 Americans a year. Death rates are much higher in areas that haven’t higher than average concentration of coal burning power plants, when compared to areas that have few or no coal burning power plants. Besides cancer, the fine particles release by coal burning power plants also aggravates asthma, and asthma is a growing problem in major metropolitan areas with high levels of pollution.

For reasons related to both global warming, as well as for improved public health, coal burning power plants may one day become a thing of the past.


Power plants face potentially costly New Air Pollution

Study Says Coal Plant Pollution Kills 30,000 A Year