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Interesting new player in the Solar Power world

trainwreck82
March 13, 2012 04:07PM

Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 264

Posted to slashdot.org an hour ago:

"Twin Creeks, a solar power startup that emerged from hiding today, has developed a way of creating photovoltaic cells that are half the price of today's cheapest cells, and thus within reach of challenging the fossil fuel hegemony. As it stands, almost every solar panel is made by slicing a 200-micrometer-thick (0.2mm) wafer from a block of crystalline silicon. You then add some electrodes, cover it in protective glass, and leave it in a sunny area to generate electricity through the photovoltaic effect. There are two problems with this approach: Much in the same way that sawdust is produced when you slice wood, almost half of the silicon block is wasted when it's cut into 200-micrometer slices; and second, the panels would still function just as well if they were thinner than 200 micrometers, but silicon is brittle and prone to cracking if it's too thin. Using a hydrogen ion particle accelerator, Twin Creeks has managed to create very thin (20-micrometer), flexible photovoltaic cells that can be produced for just 40 cents per watt; around half the cost of conventional solar cells, and a price point that encroaches on standard, mostly-hydrocarbon-derived grid power."

Link to the article.

"A price point that encroaches on standard, mostly-hydrocarbon-derived grid power." In the States. Wonder how this type of panel setup might do against $.44/kWh power rates that are almost guaranteed to rise dramatically in the very near future.

Re: Interesting new player in the Solar Power world

OldTart
March 13, 2012 04:16PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 2,928

The problem is that the internet is crammed with innovative energy-saving solar devices which similarly "emerged from hiding" and promised the world, only to fade into oblivion just a few short months later when they simply weren't able to stand up to real testing.

Re: Interesting new player in the Solar Power world

trainwreck82
March 13, 2012 04:37PM

Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 264

Quote
OldTart
The problem is that the internet is crammed with innovative energy-saving solar devices which similarly "emerged from hiding" and promised the world, only to fade into oblivion just a few short months later when they simply weren't able to stand up to real testing.

True enough, I can't count how many times I've read a "scientific" article that has link after link peppered throughout trying to sell you something. That said, this article was published by an MIT rag, and this idea has been tossed around before but was never actually done because of the prohibitive cost of buying your own particle accelerator.

These guys don't plan on making commercially available panels, rather they plan to sell the equipment that will make them to panel makers. Will anything actually tangible pan out from this? Always skeptical but what they're doing actually sounds practical.

Re: Interesting new player in the Solar Power world

blu4u
March 14, 2012 01:05PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 855

The consumer price point for installing PV equipment is one of the top deal breakers for residential and light commercial sales. A mid-line PV systems adds $40K to price of a newly constructed family home--doesn't make sense for most consumers. Drop the price to $20K and I'd wager more folks would opt for new installations and and retro fitting.

Re: Interesting new player in the Solar Power world

billd
March 15, 2012 08:50AM

Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 1,087

The solar panel is only a part of the cost. My converters that convert each cell voltage into 120 votls are the key.

My system was made in Canada. It is the least expensive one out there.

It is about time that the US steps up WITHOUT GOVERNMENT HELP and gets the price down. If it gets down to the 20K level more and more people will use it. 40K is too much.


Billd

Re: Interesting new player in the Solar Power world

blu4u
March 16, 2012 10:33PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 855

Economies of scale come into play as well. The demand is real. But the current price point is prohibitive. I like the idea of tax incentives for energy saving home improvements. Good for the consumer, good for the trades, and good for decreasing our nation's thirst for foreign fossil fuels.

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