Power of Solar

In a previous post this statement was made of advances in solar panels:

With the evolution of better technology the cost of solar panels has decreased so that if the trend continues solar panels will compete with other forms of renewable energy in a few years. However, there are always rumblings of some disruptive technology that would make other technologies obsolete and suddenly put solar panels in the forefront of the renewable race.

Now it is possible to detail the possibility of solar rising to prominence among the renewable sources of energy.

As First Solar scaled production up, it was able to bring its costs down. Solar producers measure their costs in terms of dollars per watt of energy produced, a formula that’s a combination of the cost of producing a module and its power efficiency. Right now the best crystalline-silicon makers can sell modules at $3 to $4 a watt; First Solar can sell at around $2.40 a watt, a price the company expects to reduce steadily. "They’ve really pushed this industry over the threshold," says Travis Bradford, author of The Solar Revolution. "They possess great technology."

But First Solar doesn’t generate the most buzz. That notoriety belongs to the start-up Nanosolar, which shocked its competitors in December when it announced it would begin profitably selling thin-film panels at $1 a watt. That figure is solar’s holy grail, the point at which power from the sun becomes generally cheaper than coal, without the help of subsidies.


As mentioned before solar panels become much more interesting if power can be stored until peak power occurs later in the day. Check out this video that connects solar panels with VRB storage.


All of this is disconcerting news to people devising carbon taxes and cap and trade because the technology described here renders such schemes unnecessary.

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