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Thread: Next Generation Solar....

  1. #1
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default Next Generation Solar....

    Here's some interesting next generation solar power (3rd gen) that truly (even to a total skeptic like me) has amazing implications, especially if the "over-the-horizon" stuff comes true.

    The link is to a company called Powerfilm, their "Solar Field Shelters"

    Here's been the progression in solar panels:

    Gen 1: Constructed out of expensive crystalline silicon wafers, required "clean room" technology, way beyond extremely expensive.

    Gen 2: Silicon film on glass / plastic, use 1-2% of silicon of gen 1, "clean room" not required, but manufacturing process uses a vacuum based production environment. Very difficult to create sustained production runs, consequently still very expensive. Production costs per watt in the $5 range, at least five times as expensive as conventional power production environment.

    Gen 3: Thin film solar panels. Special (think ink jet style) printers place nano size ink particles onto rolls of thin, very flexible materials (a "print your own solar panel(s)" approach) Production costs per watt in the $1.25 range, in the 1.25% more expensive than conventional power production environment.

    The difference is, that thin panel solar is a lot easier to put up and running than a new power plant.

    Companies like Nanosolar (Silicon Valley) Powerfilm, even Applied Materials are jumping in big time. It's not about "green energy", as much as it is getting a place in the marketspace.

    But watch out for the real player - HP. World leaders in inkjet and printing technology. They have partnered with Powerfilm, and what if they start producing cheap inkjet printers which can print thin panel letter/legal size solar panels.

    Imagine the consequences of being out on an location somewhere that is a really short drive to nowhere, where you can setup a 4 ft x 6 ft square printed on the spot thin solar panel which is capable of generating 1-2 Kw. of electric power.

    For a cynic like me, too much to hope for. But, what if it actually plays out this way....

  2. #2
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
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    I like BIG SOLAR... The possibilities with these are awesome.
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