Photovoltaics

I strongly recommend the “Photovoltaics” article from Wikipedia, which is eye-opening in the way that Netscape Navigator was eye-opening to people whose only exposure to computers had been WarGames.

One big feature of the Wikipedia article is the lead that Germany has in solar technology.  Germany is using solar as a way of gaining energy independence from Russia, in spite of popular opposition to nuclear power.  We should hope them the best.

Another topic is “grid parity,” the point at which Solar becomes a cost-effective energy source.  Projectsions are for grid parity to be reached in ten years, which would be very good. Not so much about global warming (who cares about that), but against because of the promise solar holds to weaken Russia’s ability to harm the countries of the Core and the Seam.

Interesting reading!

4 thoughts on “Photovoltaics”

  1. Yes, Germany is far ahead in terms of solar power. They are also one of the few countries who do a lot of work with solar thermal, although its not possible to build plants in Germany. Just driving around any town will already show you loads of roofs topped off with solar panels, and they are getting cheaper and more efficient too. The US could learn a lot from them!

  2. Solar Power, the technology of the future for the past 30 years! I suppose it will be true eventually.

    The work being done on Sterling engines is looking nice though.

  3. Solar Energy is being pushed, thankfully. You are also seeing new research coming out in this sector.

    http://www.tgdaily.com/html_tmp/content-view-39807-113.html
    http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/fullspect.htm

    Main Article – http://www.pnas.org/content/105/40/15247.short (too complicated for me, had a friend try to explain most of the stuff)

    I’m with you, push the memes of Global Warming and Energy Independence to mask the need to stop the spread of Russian influence in Europe.

  4. Chirol,

    The wikipedia article notes that the adoption of solar power elsewhere in the world was delayed by manufacturing capacity consumed by Germany. However, Germany’s spending is effectively ‘teaching’ the world about solar power, as Germany accepts the cost that early adopters face.

    Germany’s sourcing from solar is still 00.5% [1], but as the important part of scaling-up, the world should be thankful.

    Steve,

    Capital is flowing into solar not because of pie-in-the-sky idealism, but rather clear trends in the cost of production.

    Especially consider that the strategic value of renewables is reducing the fraction of GDP that is spent by Core states on hydrocarbons from the Gap. Reducing the fraction of GDP spent on these hydrocarbons incrementally increases the Core’s bargaining power, which is needed for freeing Core states from manipulation by Gap actors.

    Glenn,

    Excellent links!

    As there’s now talk of another stimulus package [2], hopefully some of it can be spent on solar R&D!

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Germany
    [2] http://economy.nationaljournal.com/2008/10/what-should-the-stimulus-plan.php

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