Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Which way will we go?

There is a Moore’s law of sorts emerging for solar. That is for every doubling of annual solar P.V. production, there is a 20% greater efficiency and a reduction of 20% in cost per kwh of electricity produced. It is an undeniable technology based curve that is reducing in cost and accelerating as production ramps up.

A little history,

The Solar P.V ability was observed as far back as the late 1800s.

In 1954 Bell labs produced a solar panel with 5% efficiency, the cost was millions.

In 1958, first satellite Vanguard 1, deployed with 5% efficiency solar panels.

1970’s first commercial P.V. panels appear at approx. $25kwh with 6% efficiency,
NASA up to 12% on leading edge new sat launches.

1980’s P.V panels down to $18kwh with 10% efficiency, NASA up to 18% on leading edge for sat launches.

1990’s P.V. panels down to $12kwh with 14% efficiency, NASA up to 22% on leading edge sat launches.

Today, P.V. panels down to $6kwh with 20% efficiency, NASA up to 38% on leading edge sat launches.

Today, second market layer of thin film solar P.V with 6% to 10% efficiency, but cost down to $2kwh and dropping.

I’m sure you can argue a number or two in here depending on your advocacy, but the general point of declining price and increasing efficiency for solar P.V. is undeniable and in my opinion unstoppable.

This contrast with an opposite curve for extraction based fuels due primarily to extraction, importation, refining, delivery, storage, and retail delivery cost of the fuel.

Solar fuel has no extraction, refining, delivery, storage, and very small retail delivery (from rooftop to your panel) cost.

The two cost paths are about to cross in the next few years. We build our power plants to last 60-70 years (ours in Carlsbad California is from the late 40’s .) Guess which type of plant, renewable technology based, or fuel extraction based, we should be building?

....and some say that solar P.V. and other renewable energy sources, and its natural partner, the electric car won't work?

To them I simply say,

I'll show you my Ipod Nano with 2400 songs, if you will show me your record player.


1 comment:

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