Bring It On!

Solar Power Research

February 18th, 2008 | by Mat |

Solar Power is going to be a big part of your future life whether you like it or not. With the cut throat politics of big oil, the future is going to be very different. America much like in the past will change the world with our direction. Not from some group in some far away lands demands, but on our own terms. American’s are a funny people, we will buy your product on our terms if it is affordable and reliable. That includes our energy needs. While the nice folks sitting on mega trillions of oil think that they have “We the People” over their barrel, creative Americans are turning those same barrels into wood stoves and home made bio-fuel tanks.

I love the New York Times and I have to thank my friend Jeff from Worm Town Taxi for turning me onto this story. The New York Times writer could not find his back side from his elbow on this topic. Rather than reporting on the true research they condemn solar power as a fad for this generation. Different paper, different generation but the same is true, Solar power is not good enough once more over at the NYT…

A link between Moore’s Law and solar technology reflects the engineering reality that computer chips and solar cells have a lot in common.

“A solar cell is just a big specialized chip, so everything we’ve learned about making chips applies,” says Paul Saffo, an associate engineering professor at Stanford and a longtime observer of Silicon Valley.

Financial opportunity also drives innovators to exploit the solar field. “This is the biggest market Silicon Valley has ever looked at,” says T. J. Rogers, the chief executive of Cypress Semiconducto r, which is part-owner of the SunPower Corporation, a maker of solar cells in San Jose, Calif.

Mr. Rogers, who is also chairman of SunPower, says the global market for new energy sources will ultimately be larger than the computer chip market.

“For entrepreneur s, energy is going to be cool for the next 30 years,” he says.
Optimism about creating a “Solar Valley” in the geographic shadow of computing all-stars like Intel, Apple and Google is widespread among some solar evangelists.

“The solar industry today is like the late 1970s when mainframe computers dominated, and then Steve Jobs and I.B.M. came out with personal computers, says R. Martin Roscheisen, the chief executive of Nanosolar, a solar company in San Jose, Calif.

Nanosolar shipped its first “thin film” solar panels in December, and the company says it ultimately wants to produce panels that are both more efficient in converting sunlight into electricity and less expensive than today’s versions. Dramatic improvements in computer chips over many years turned the PC and the cellphone into powerful, inexpensive appliances — and the foundation of giant industries. Solar enterprises are hoping for the same outcome. - New York Times

This is where the article should have ended but it didn’t. You can read the rest of it if you like but it is more or less if you can’t have the whole loaf of bread then you don’t want even one slice.

When it comes to our nations energy needs in the future you can no longer put all your eggs in one basket. You need to look at all options and Solar Power is just one option of many for your individual energy needs. There isn’t a person involved in the real life business of solar power that will tell you it will serve all of your energy resources. That kind of science and technology just doesn’t exist… YET! When you think of solar power you have to think of your vegetable garden, it offsets your grocery bill with food grown by your own hand that you know will help your family budget. It’s only the vegetables. As in the old commercials from long gone by political campaigns “Where’s the BEEF?”

The beef is in the current research that will mass produce the solar panels to the point where Joe and Joanne Sixpack can afford to install a solar panel on their home. That is where Moore’s Law meets the common consumer. That is where engineers and scientist break the back of OPEC and pretty much look at locations in the middle of the desert here in America with sunshine year round that are not in the Middle East for our nations electric power needs.

Solar Power was not a fad in the 70‘s, or the 80‘s, or for that matter in the 90‘s. It is and will be part of your life, it is only a question of what part it will be producing power for your families needs. Ten years from now you could probably pick up a whole house solar panel unit that you plug into your outdoor outlet that powers your entire home from Home Depot or Lowes. Then again Walmart might have those nasty falling prices and outsource the American designed technology to China to mass produce it. Any way you look at it, the technology will be cheaper and our nations energy needs will come from somewhere else and solar power is just one piece of the puzzle.

The only thing that will hold solar power back is the people most afraid of it and how much of their bottom line it will take away. Those are the people that this story in the NYT’s should have looked at more closely. That is when you will smell the sense of smoke in the air and new patents for new energy smoldering on the bonfires of big energy R us. Capitalism at its worst.

Papamoka

Feel free to link to this post or borrow it…

Cross posted at Papamoka Straight Talk

Tags: , , , , , , Batteries, Battery Advances, Capitalism, Coal, , Corn, Electric Bill, Energy, Energy Markets, Energy Research, GE Solar, Gorilla Power, Green Energy, , Home Depot, Home Power, No Electric Bill, Off Grid, , , Rooftop Power, RWS Schott, Solar Cars, , Solar Power research, Sun Power, Switch Grass, Technology in Solar Power

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