What now? Well, Taiwan is finally putting it's massive electronics
manufacturing base to work for itself. They're creating a jacket,
presumably, that will have solar panels integrated into it. The solar
panels will power some various health-monitoring devices (body heat,
heart rate, blood pressure, and an RFID emitter that will beam the
information to the health provider.
Freakin' weird. From Infoworld
: "A system could
be designed that's powerful enough
to run a laptop computer, but it would take a lot more solar panels --
and therefore a very big jacket, said Chang Cheng-tung, deputy chief of
system integration at the institute." Apparently we could see these
'e-health' jackets within a couple of years. I like the idea, I just
probably won't like the jacket.
Usually when we talk about solar cells, there are just two varieties.
Silicon and thin film. Both were our ideas. We thought, "Well, if a
photon can knock an electron off a substance a plant made, why not a
substance people made." So we came up with substances that lose
electrons when hit with photons.
But, just now, when blogging about Jimmy Stewart and the future of
as seen in 1938, I realized that EcoGeek has never once
mentioned what is still the future of solar power: Porphyrin. Instead
of creating our own substances that will lose electrons, some
scientists are using porphyrin, the chemical that plants use to convert
light into electricity.
Porphyrin chemistry is confusing and troublesome. And while it's been
going on for a while, practical applications are still a ways off.
But, when they do arrive, we can expect much broader capabilities from
solar power. Porphyrin complexes, for example, can be painted on in
huge swaths or incorporated into plastics. They're also two to three
times more efficient than anything silicon or thin film.
The Fresh Science Initiative has announced
that a team in Sydney has
taken the first steps to practical organic solar cells. By attaching
hundreds porphyrin molecules to the outside of several bucky balls, the
team has managed to create a high enough density of porpharyn molecules
to produce a significant amount of electricity. Though they're
certainly in the first stages, it will be very exciting to follow their
Leaves are extremely efficient, inexpensive, and environmentally
neutral solar cells. It's in our best interest to figure out how they
do it as soon as possible so we can rid ourselves of our clumsy first
attempts at mimicking nature.
California has a brand new law. Last week, Governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill
to increase the use of solar power in his state. The
"Million Solar Roofs" bill seeks to increase California's use of solar power,
especially at the residential level.
points out some of the provisions of this bill which include a requirement for
production homebuilders to offer solar systems as a standard option. It also
increases the amount of electricity that net-metered homes can sell back to the
utility at retail rates (getting only wholesale rate on your net metered
electricity is a disincentive for more people to participate).
Much of California, with its sunny climate, is the kind of place where
individual solar hot water systems and photovoltaics just makes sense. Especially as the price drops, and the costs of traditional power sources rise.
So you've decided that you need to add some solar power to your life. But where, you ask yourself, can I find someone who will install my new system?
A new website called FindSolar.com has a large database of solar/alternative energy professionals, an extensive FAQ section to help you gather more information about solar power alternatives, and a Solar Estimator that will help you evaluate solar power options, in terms of cost, payback period, etc.
via: EC&M Magazine
has just announced that it will be building a 430 MW / year
production facility. That's equivalent to about 200 million solar
cells per year. The best thing about Nanosolar is that they don't use
silicon. Traditional solar cells require the use of expensive and environmentally costly to produce silicon wafers. The solar industry,
if you can believe it, actually uses more silicon than the
microprocessor industry. And silicon is nasty stuff.
So Nanosolar's thin-film, printable, copper-indium-gallium-selenium
cells are very desirable. They're thin, flexible, durable and cheap.
Depending on how much efficiency they can squeeze out of these cells
and how cheap they can ultimately make them, solar might soon become
cheaper than conventional power sources in much of the country. All
thanks to Nanosolar (and that $25 million in seed funding
founders of Google.)
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