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516 comments

If this is not the first post... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115405)

...I will burn my pubes with my grandmother's curling iron.

As always, links to pictures will be posted.

So? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115411)

Can they power my Grand Cherokee? no? then I don't care.

Re:So? (1)

Phreakiture (547094) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115544)

Get a smaller car, you insensitive clod!

Re:So? (0, Offtopic)

jniver (91943) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115711)

But how are us vampires suppposed to get around if cars will only run in the daytime?

Here's the same artical on (5, Informative)

Sir Haxalot (693401) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115416)

Eetimes.com [eetimes.com] .

Re:Here's the same artical on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115658)

Why do such obvious karma whores continue to get modded up?

Re:Here's the same artical on (0)

BTO (604614) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115677)

It's the misspelling.

Balance of power (1, Interesting)

jmerelo (216716) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115417)

That might shift the balance of power to sun-soaked states, right? At least if you couple it with fuel cells.

Re:Balance of power (1, Informative)

dcphoenix (528517) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115453)

Maybe, maybe not....

At the moment, I'd say no mainly because these cells are apparently only half as efficient at producing electricity ( 10% versus 20% ).

But, then again, these are only the first run cells. The efficiency should improve a bit with time, which will help.

First Post! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115424)

First Post

Re:First Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115438)

Um, no. Dumbass.

At that price... (5, Funny)

KDan (90353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115425)

The mythical solar-powered flashlight becomes achievable!

Daniel

Re:At that price... (5, Insightful)

wankledot (712148) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115472)

Laugh it up. [solareagle.com]

Much Better (2, Informative)

Blikbok (595309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115551)

The Free Light by Avexa-Swisslight.

http://www.tadgear.com/x-treme%20gear/flashlight s% 20main/free-light.htm

Uses a rechargeable coin cell. 8 hours of sunlight = 2 hours of LED light.

fark me now (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115426)

first post

In other news... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115428)

GOATSE LINK [that doesn't work anyway] (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115490)

The bad news: this is a link to goatse.

The good news: this idiot of a troll was so inept that he couldn't even make the link work right. You'll go to a 403 error on Yahoo's page rather than The Dreaded Site.

DON'T CLICK THAT LINK!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115499)

It's a goatse.cx!

Consider yourself warned!

Re:In other news... (0, Flamebait)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115514)

That's funny, it doesn't look like he has slanted eyes!

no wonder (3, Interesting)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115431)

Consequently, although the "fuel" for a solar-powered generator is free sunlight, the overall cost of solar-generated electricity (amortized over the lifetime of the solar cell, typically 20 years) is around ten times higher than the cost of electricity generated by burning fossil fuels.


No wonder we still don't have widespread solar use. I had no idea it was this much more expensive to "buy" initially.

Sign Me Up! (4, Funny)

Gortbusters.org (637314) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115434)

3 laptops and the other essentials (TV, etc) run me a quick $100/month bill in electricity. Must... get... solar..

Re:Sign Me Up! (4, Interesting)

zCyl (14362) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115642)

Well, with a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation... If you roughly assume an average of 5 hours of good sunlight per day and roughly assume a house consumes 500KWh per month, then you need 3,333W of generated power (before taking storage into account). In previous price ranges, you're talking $15,000 for that many solar cells (not counting power storage cost or a multiple for storage efficiency). If they can successfully bring solar cells of 20 cents per Watt to market, then you're talking about enough solar cells to cover a house's usage for possibly around $2000.

Assuming no major error in the calculation, that makes it accessible to anyone who can afford a house. A year's electricity at that rate of consumption would be about $720.

Hopefully they will succeed in delivering this, and the usage of the words "organic", "nanotechnology", and "renewable energy" are more than just buzzwords in search of funding.

Re:Sign Me Up! (1)

Rebar (110559) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115667)

Lessee: I don't know where you are, but lets say your electricity costs somewhere around $0.12/KWh, which I believe is a little more than average in the US. That's 833 KW/h you are using in a month, or an average of 1.14 KW all the time. Them's some laptops you got there.

Okay, assuming you get an average of 4 good hours of sun a day (which is pretty typical), you would need about 7KW worth of solar panels, plus enough battery storage for some days without sun, plus a nice inverter, and not counting losses due to different charge voltage than your panel's optimum specs, and also inverter and line losses. Panels today will run you maybe $3.29 per watt. Before installation, batteries and inverter, that's $23,030 to save $100 per month.

Point: Do it for yourself, do it because you want to learn, or cut coal emissions, or because it is the enviro-geek-cool thing to do, or because you love the notion of being independent of the grid or living with a lighter footprint on the Earth. But don't do it to save money.

Getting back on topic re: the article, I'll believe it when I can buy it. I've been hearing about sub-$1-watt solar for years and years.

Enough power for FP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115441)

FP!

exoskelton (1)

chef_raekwon (411401) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115444)

yes!!!
time for that exoskelton, now i wont have to do any work at all! cheap solar power will allow my mind and my atrophied muscles to move!

Re:exoskelton (5, Interesting)

astar (203020) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115528)

so what does a watt of electricy cost delivered these days, like from the power company? And one traditional silliness about solar power is that by the time you actual install it, the energy cost of the materials exceeds the expected lifetime output of the solar cells. So the green types who install solar are really pretty brown.

Re:exoskelton (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115732)

It takes the equivalent energy of two or three gallons of oil to make a solar panel. Yet over a 20+ year lifespan it will generate much more energy than that. This whole "takes more to make than it'll generate" urban myth needs to die so regular people will start to take renewable energy more seriously. And this invention in combination with the deteriorating power grid only makes RE even more attractive.

I heard Solar was going to get cheaper in 1976 (4, Interesting)

AppyPappy (64817) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115445)

Every year, it was going to put the power companies out of business. The last time I priced it in 1999, it was still too expensive. I hate to sound conspiritorial, but it sounds to me like someone is jiggling the switch. It is 2003. Why don't we have affordable solar power for home use?

Re:I heard Solar was going to get cheaper in 1976 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115473)

And flying cars dammit! They promised us flying cars by 2000, three years past and we still don't have 'em. I want my fly car!

Re:I heard Solar was going to get cheaper in 1976 (4, Insightful)

cgranade (702534) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115525)

A lot of it comes down to power density... even if you can afford solar cells, the power delivered per square length is low. Right now, power efficency is at maybe 15-20%, with pending increases as technology improves. What that means is that we get only 1/5 of the possible power out of our solar cells. Give it time... after all, fuel cells have been around since the mid 1800s...

Re:I heard Solar was going to get cheaper in 1976 (5, Interesting)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115669)

I echo this one. The big issue is not cost of solar, but area. After all, the average home uses about 5kW . A typical estimate of solar load is 1 kW/m2. That means, even with 100% efficient cells, you'd need 5 square meters (~53 ft2) to power your house. Not to mention you'd need more than that to store power for night, cloudy weather, etc. That's going to eat up a lot of roof space... and need to be protected and cleaned as well.

Yeah, we have lots of "empty" space here and there, and I've heard of people wanting to put solar power stations on the moon. I don't know about you, but I don't want to look up at the moon and see piles of man-made crap instead of its current beautiful state. Power stations on the moon makes me want to vomit.

That said, though, I will embrace the day when I don't have to be connected to any utilities at all...

"All terrestrial energy sources are really solar anyway; this means we've had a nuclear power industry all along!" - me

efficiency takes a backseat here (1)

AlienBrain (664728) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115724)

The main point of the approach by this company is not worrying about efficiency, but more about cost. 20% efficiency with silicon is expensive, but they're only shooting for 10-15% with this much cheaper approach.

So we're maybe getting cheaper cells... but we're getting less efficient ones. This really is going to take a long time before we can power our houses on the cheap.

J

Re:I heard Solar was going to get cheaper in 1976 (0)

BTO (604614) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115736)

It's not a matter of what fraction of the theoretical maximum amount of solar energy they collect, its a matter of how much the output energy costs, after you include purchase, maintenance, and space costs. Solar cells that converted sunlight to electricity at 1% efficiency would be viable if they cost a penny per acre to produce, and did not interfere with other land use in any way.

Re:I heard Solar was going to get cheaper in 1976 (4, Interesting)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115572)

Well there may be a more complex answer found in the book.. [amazon.com]
"The Hydrogen Economy", Jeremy Rifkin, Tarcher/Penguin 2002

Not to mention the running out of oil very soon.

Answer (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115696)

The reason there isn't affordable solar power for home use is that there are no government subsidies for solar power at the level of subsidies for oil.

"organic plastics"? (3, Insightful)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115452)

Does the phrase "Organic Plastics" strike anyone else as exceedingly stupid?

"Get this! It's plastic... made from LONG CARBON CHAINS! BRILLIANT! Why did we never think of this before!?!"

Someone want to explain that to me? Aren't all plastics "organic"?

Re:"organic plastics"? (1)

sbma44 (694130) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115481)

not to mention the fact that if this tech leans on organic molecules more heavily than its predecessor, a 20 year lifespan may not be realistic

Re:"organic plastics"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115508)

They're grown according to the FDA's organic farming rules and they are grown by aging hippies in the SF Bay area.

Re:"organic plastics"? (1)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115515)

Not really stupid, but definitely redundant.

Re:"organic plastics"? (2, Informative)

deragon (112986) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115584)

What I remember from my chemistry class is that plastics are composed of hydrogen and carbon atoms only (neglecting special compounds we can add to dope to obtain specific properties). To be considered organic, oxygen must also be present. Plastic chains do not have oxygen.

I also think that it is the lack of oxygen which makes plastic so durable and not compostable.

Re:"organic plastics"? (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115662)

Ah. I forgot that oxygen was required in order to be considered organic.

So... nevermind.

Re:"organic plastics"? (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115666)

Aren't all plastics "organic"?

IIRC, isn't silicone also classified as a plastic? That's not exactly organic. And what about Teflon?

*yawn* (0, Troll)

ewieling (90662) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115455)

Wake me up when they start shipping a product.

Should make space travel cheaper (2, Interesting)

Brahmastra (685988) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115456)

This should make space probes, satellites, etc that use solar energy much cheaper.

Re:Should make space travel cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115604)

No. The cells would probably not survive very
long in a space environment. Space qualified
ones don't have the best efficiency possible
because reliability and longevity come first.

Re:Should make space travel cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115609)

That all depends on the operating temperatures of these new compounds. They may work in human habitable temps, but not in VERY cold and VERY hot environments of space.

Re:Should make space travel cheaper (1)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115618)

OK, so I'm not a rocket scientist or anything, but wouldn't the use of solar cells get less effective the farther away you are from the Sun? After all, it's the conversion from photon to electron that generates the electricity and since the number of photons decreases the farther away you get, eventually you wouldn't have critical mass enough to be self-sustaining, right?

Alternatively, you'd have to build one heck of a big solar cell to account for the reduced photon's per square meter as you travel farther out...

Maybe more expensive (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115624)

At least one of the research approaches that was described was for making solar cells that were less efficient but much cheaper. For spacecraft, that can be a bad tradeoff, because you really care a lot about size and weight. Less efficient means that you need more surface area, so you need bigger panels, and the extra cost of launching bigger panels could quite easily outweigh the savings in the hardware cost of the solar cells.

they are cheaper but less efficient per sq meter (1)

clovercase (707041) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115648)

according to the article, they are achieving the gains, not by more efficient conversion of solar power into electricity, but by making the cells more inexpensive. they are about 1/2 as efficient as silicon-based solar cells. so if my math is correct, you would need twice as much surface area to generate the same power as a silicon cell - which may be fine for a rooftop, but i doubt this is acceptible for a space craft that is launched by a rocket - to keep the weight and size down, they use the most efficient cells possible.

Re:Should make space travel cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115709)

"This should make space probes, satellites, etc that use solar energy much cheaper."

Not likely. Given that they are half as efficient at processing solar energy, you would need twice as many to generate the same electricity. even at 40 times cheaper that does not offset the cost of putting that much extra mass into orbit.

Re:Should make space travel cheaper (1)

medelliadegray (705137) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115719)

the cost of building things as cheap as solar panels generally isnt that big of a deal. The real cost for small ticket items is getting them into orbit and beyond.

when looking at other small ticket items such as astronaut's foods.. you may as well give them the ultra ultra premium brand name shit, because who cares if you save 20 bucks by getting them the generic brand when it costs #,000's just to send it up.

I wonder if they're licensing tech from these guys (3, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115457)

Dr. Michael Gratzel (credited with pioneering the technology in the article) has a startup in Lowell, MA that has been working towards commercializing polymer based photovoltaics since 2001 called Konarka Technologies [konarkatech.com] , and from what I understand from talking to them, they're almost done. I wonder if this involves some technology license, or if STMicro is going to beat Dr. Gratzel out the door with his own technology.

Re:Konarka (1)

danknight (570145) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115573)

Cool, right around the corner from work. It's nice to hear about startups in the area

Re:Konarka (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115597)

I heard of them when pieces of the ceiling started to fall on me when they started construction upstairs. :)

I don't work in that building anymore though.

Re:Konarka (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115703)

hey jackass, not all games cost $49. in fact, the games that nintendo was bundling the gamecube with can all be had for less than that. so now you pay $99 and then spend between $20 and $49 on a game you actually want. but you are fucking stupid so you do not get it. it's okay, be a nintendo hater - it is fine. talk about someone who is dumb - you do not even know that the price of games vary.

don't get too. . . (5, Informative)

Grell (9450) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115459)

Excited.

Reading the article leaves you with a lot of "will, should, could" and no prototype.

And the $0.20 is a target to be reached, not an acheived goal.

What's Slashdot becoming, a free way to secure prior art against when companies actually has a patentable working model?

Grell

Re:don't get too. . . (2, Interesting)

FroMan (111520) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115706)

Not just that, but according to the article I read about this, they are shooting for only 10% effeciency. That means more sq. feet (sq. metric length unit for those out of the US) requirements. Area is already a major limiting factor with solar now.

One thing you never hear about with solar energy also is that the panel absorb a certain amount of heat that would normally be absorbed by the earth. Will this cause issues on a large scale?

Similar with wind generators, the energy taken from the wind is also removing energy that would be dispursed further down the line. Again, small scale doesn't seem to matter much.

However, a single combustion engine isn't a major issue either. So, while I think alternative energies are a wonderful and exciting thing, keep in mind, everything has environmental impact.

interesting problem (3, Funny)

Savatte (111615) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115475)

to successfully set up and harness the power of the sun using solar cells would mean venturing out into the sun. what's a geek to do?

It's like a forcing yourself to drink some nasty cough syrup to make a cold go away.

SpheralSolar (4, Informative)

SubtleNuance (184325) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115477)

See this company: http://www.spheralsolar.com/ [spheralsolar.com] their technology makes very cheap, very efficient, very flexible solar-cells... they are building a massive manufacturing facitliy as-we-type, they do small(er) runs currently in their original test/research facility.

this is one to watch.

Misleading body. RTFA. (5, Informative)

Wise Dragon (71071) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115478)

This is not an announcement of any new solar cells. It's a press release detailing an advanced research program that STMicroelectronics hopes will eventually lead to cheap solar cells. RTFA whover posted this.

Re:Misleading body. RTFA. (1)

indros13 (531405) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115684)

Exactly. I'd say mod parent up, but he's already at the max. Raise the mod point maximum for this man/woman deserveth more!

big surface area needed? (1)

kisrael (134664) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115484)

They mention that they're 10% effecient, as opposed to more expensive setups that are 15%-20%--I wonder if it means a much larger surface area will be needed in order to get much benefit out of it? Any solarheads (or whatever the group name is) have any thoughts on that?

20c per watt ? kwatt-hour is needed type of measur (2, Interesting)

j_dot_bomb (560211) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115502)

Power companies provide at about 15c per kilowatt-HOUR. What does 20c per watt mean ? Meaning running continuously 12 hrs a day for 20 years ? Watt is a power unit. Watt-hours is energy.

Power vs Energy (2, Informative)

nuggz (69912) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115564)

Solar cells generate power.
Power companies sell energy.

20 cents per Watt means that will buy you enough solar cell to generate one watt.
If you run it for 1 hour, you get 1 watt-hour.

Energy = Power x Time = Force x Displacement

Don't they teach physics anymore?

Re:Power vs Energy (1)

j_dot_bomb (560211) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115594)

Yeah but what does it mean for oil ? Can you compare them ?

Re:Power vs Energy (1)

shlashdot (689477) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115700)

It's not easy to compare, but as the IEEE article states, conventional power plants can be built for 40 cents per watt. So if you can buy solar cells for 20 cents a watt that would be significant. You do have to add a lot of infrastructure, but you get the idea. Coleman 4000 Watt generator is $400. 10 cents a watt but it sure won't last 20 years. Plus fuel costs. So really a competitive price for a solar power station would be about $1 a watt complete, which would be possible with cells at 20 cents per watt. The article is worded poorly because the 20 year life is not really relevant in comparing cost per watt. But you can use the 20 year life to calculate an expected cost per kWh. btw most power plants use coal or natural gas, not oil.

Re:Power vs Energy (1)

j_dot_bomb (560211) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115639)

And further the suns effective intensity even with changing the angle of the panels varys greatly throughout the day. So the total energy produced over twenty years is unclear. Its not just 1 watt * (number of hours in 20 years)

Re:Power vs Energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115689)

And if you run it for 20 years, you get 20 watt-years

Re:20c per watt ? kwatt-hour is needed type of mea (1)

mountainman (89399) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115589)

The price of existing commercial solar panels generally is compared in terms of dollars per maximum watt output. A 120W maximum output panel costs about $474 or $3.95/watt. That's the measure they're using in the article when they talk about $0.20/watt.

Re:20c per watt ? kwatt-hour is needed type of mea (1)

hanssprudel (323035) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115738)

So then what do they mean by:

"The new solar cells would even be able to compete with electricity generated by burning fossil fuels such as oil and gas, which costs about $0.40 per watt"

How many watts you get out $0.40 of gas depends on how fast you burn it. The person who wrote the article clearly couldn't handle the difference between power and energy (hence the "over the cells 20 year lifetime" explanation before the power price ratio of the new technology.)

Re:20c per watt ? kwatt-hour is needed type of mea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115601)

They're talking about the end cost of a unit to the consumer. Current solar panels average $4 per
wat to purchase ... ie. a 100 watt panel costs about $400 for me to buy.

-Brad in sunny Tucson

Re:20c per watt ? kwatt-hour is needed type of mea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115668)

It looks like not all power companies are the same.

I used to get my power at about $.10 a kilowatt-HOUR, plus all the regulatory add ons.

I recently switched to a time of use plant that, during the summer, charges $.08 off peak and $.31 on peak.

$.20 a kWH is double what I pay now, in California. Other states have much cheaper power.

And with my power company, I don't have to shell out $10k-$25k in up front costs.

This technology makes sense for people who are in remote areas, but not most people.

In order for it to become attractive, the price will have to get much closer to $.10 actual costs.

For about $30k, IIRC, you could get yourself a small gas turbine enging, http://www.capstoneturbine.com/ which runs on natural gas or a number of other fuels with fuel costs in the $.05 range or less.

Production costs for nuclear are in the sub $.03 per kWHrange, and most of the costs in that are fuel and labor.

40c per watt for oil in cnn article (1)

j_dot_bomb (560211) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115691)

The only way this makes sense is if you say equivalent solar panel will cost 40c per watt (and all the solar efficiency / 20 year amortization is hidden). But it is unclear that is what they mean or if they screwed up.

Re:20c per watt ? kwatt-hour is needed type of mea (1)

crow (16139) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115699)

At $.20/watt, you have $200/kw. So if you want to break even, you have to run long enough to average $.15/hour, or 1333 1/3 hours. That's less than a year to break even.

At $4/watt, you need 20 times as long to break even, and you'll be lucky to have the system last that long.

Re:20c per watt ? kwatt-hour is needed type of mea (1)

RevMike (632002) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115725)

Power companies provide at about 15c per kilowatt-HOUR. What does 20c per watt mean ? Meaning running continuously 12 hrs a day for 20 years ? Watt is a power unit. Watt-hours is energy.

I'm wondering about the same thing. My guess is that it costs 20 cents/watt in capital outlay. The article states that it costs 40 cents per watt for traditional plants. So I would guess that a 250 kW facility could be built for one hundred thousand dollars. This doesn't seem out of line, considering that they do this type of plant with a gas turbine on the back of a flatbed truck.

A typical home needs, IIRC, about 5kWh per day. Let's assume that, between rainy days and imperfectly aimed cells, we get the equiv. of 5 hours of full sun a day on these units. Lets also assume a peak load - Summertime afternoon with airconditioning on - of 1.5 kW. That requires about a $300. Figure another $2,000 for inverters, and some extra for miscellaneous. For about $3,000 you could have a zero electric bill in a "net" metering area.

Ethical journalism (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115503)

Salvo Coffa, who heads the free sunlight, the Graetzel of Technology, uses a given input of generating electricity (amortized over the field) needed to be of the Graetzel cell, a mixture of new solar cells have lower efficiencies (e.g. 10% instead of electricity generation methods such as the electrons), and conducting the environment, we have lower efficiencies (e.g. 10% instead of solar cell), a full organic materials have to be in nanotechnology to photosynthesis. In a mixture of the principle to produce solar cell, a liquid electrolytes that are too expensive to separate electrons (and electron-donor and holes), withstanding the mechanism that are exploring is developing low cost, high efficiency, the new solar cell technologies are much cheaper to compete more effectively with fossil fuels or reduce the electric power.

In a CO2-neutral company by conductive polymers. This could lead to the most important renewable energy sources. However, existing solar cells would dramatically change the lifetime of new technologies are potentially one of producing electric power.

The DSSC cell technologies are too expensive to further reductions in Catania and are mainly based in which is crucial for the ST plans to manufacture. "Although there is also developing low cost, high purity, which exploit the lifetime of semiconductor materials is around the world's leading manufacturers of the world for a nanoporous (high surface area) metal oxide layer to the world for a CO2-neutral company by 2010," says Dr. Salvo Coffa, who heads the essential functions, which the electrons, and Naples, Italy, is following two approaches.

One of the cell technology. The ability to compete more effectively with high material* costs.

Consequently, although the collecting contacts of the lifetime of this blend is much support around ten times higher than the cost of generating electricity generation methods such as silicon performs all three tasks simultaneously with fossil fuel sources," says Coffa.

"In addition to absorb the overall cost of the hole-transport function is free sunlight, the principle to compete with high efficiency, the highest efficiency solar cell performance because the mechanism that will eventually be in Catania and create electron-hole pairs, a single material must be in cost of the environment, we are developing low cost of generating electricity generation methods such as burning fossil fuels or reduce the cost per Watt, which is developing many new solar cells are absorbing sunlight into energy, where each function is around ten times higher than the solar cells would dramatically change the Swiss Federal Institute of very high efficiency (defined as silicon performs all three tasks simultaneously with high efficiency), the world's leading manufacturers of the semiconductor material such as burning fossil fuel sources," says Coffa. "In addition to produce solar cells have the cost of producing electric power."

In contrast, the electron-donor (and holes) to be a conventional means of an organic approach, in an advanced research team, based in an organic approach, in an intimate contact at distances below 10 nm. ST is much cheaper to compete commercially with fossil fuels.

Semiconductor-based solar energy produced for a solar-powered generator is therefore pursuing alternative approaches in cost per Watt, (which the cost of 15-20%) but there is sandwiched between two approaches. One of these, invented in nanotechnology to transport the lifetime of solar cell technology. The ST has made to the electric field needed to further reductions in cost per Watt, which is focusing on the development of generating electricity generated by Professor Michael Graetzel of this blend is the liquid electrolyte. "One of solar cell technology."

The research group that it to compete with conventional solar cells that is free carriers (electrons and electron-donor organic materials such as silicon and revolutionize the electron-acceptor and are developing many new solar power, existing solar cell, typically 20 years) is free sunlight, the ST plans to absorb the free carriers (electrons and conducting the electrical energy commercially with fossil fuels.

Semiconductor-based solar cell, typically a solar-powered generator is free sunlight, the hole-transport function is following two approaches.

One of the Graetzel of semiconductor devices, today released details of this blend is following two approaches. One of electron-acceptor and augment the efficiency solar cell performance because the light and a hole-transporting material, which is much cheaper to separate electrons and revolutionize the solar cell technologies are developing many new solar cell technologies that we are much support around the ST team is crucial for a similar principle of electron-acceptor material must be a CO2-neutral company by conductive polymers. This could lead to be in which the electrical power and are absorbing sunlight into energy, "where each function by 2010," says Coffa.

Solar cell shmolar cell (4, Funny)

t0qer (230538) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115504)

If you really want an ecologicly friendly source of power look into electric eels. Sure they're a bit slimey and would get you weird looks from airport customs, but for anyone looking for a macho ego boost, "Is that an eel in your pocket or are you just happy too see me?"

Potential Importance (5, Interesting)

randall_burns (108052) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115516)

I've lived off the grid for over 6 years now.

Even with existing prices, it is about as cheap to buy cheaper land in outlying areas and generate your own power as it is to pay a power company _and_ pay higher prices for land. The main problem is you have to have a fair degree of mechanical aptitude to keep one of these systems running reliably.

Cheap solar cells would open up quite a bit of land for human use that is accessible by road but has no power access. When you combine that with WiFi/sattellite access the infrastructure advantages of cities become far less pronounced.

Re:Potential Importance (5, Insightful)

gwernol (167574) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115712)


Even with existing prices, it is about as cheap to buy cheaper land in outlying areas and generate your own power as it is to pay a power company _and_ pay higher prices for land. The main problem is you have to have a fair degree of mechanical aptitude to keep one of these systems running reliably.


No, the main problem is that unless you are generating your power using only renewable resources, you are likely causing a disproportionately high amount of pollution. Almost all power generation from fossil fuels is much more efficient if done on a large scale at a centralized power generation station. If we abandonded the grid and went to a lot of localized power generation facilities, the overall impact on the environment would be severe.

Environmentally friendly (3, Interesting)

Kandel (624601) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115518)

"The new solar cells would even be able to compete with electricity generated by burning fossil fuels such as oil and gas, which costs about $0.40 per watt"

This is certainly excellent news. With oil reserves slowly running down and with countries that require 'liberation' slowly dwindling, we certainly need new cheap energy sources. It's great to see a product has been created that harnesses solar energy to the point that it could one day replace all need for fossil fuels. This is also have many positive ramifacations on the environment, making a lot of people happy.
Another large source of energy that has been largely untapped is geothermal energy, which is obtained through convering heat from the Earth into usable energy.
It really demonstrates the effect that these large oil corporations have on our world, when there are much better cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels, yet these are being ignored for the sake of the oil companies.

Re:Environmentally friendly (1)

BillFarber (641417) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115592)

there are much better cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels, yet these are being ignored for the sake of the oil companies

Doesn't this article demonstrate that the alternatives are NOT being ignored, but in fact explored and developed?

Seems Expensive To Me (1)

captain igor (657633) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115522)

Doesn't $0.20/Watt seem expensive to anyone else? For one, I thought electricity was measured in Kilowatt-hours or watt-hours, and right now I'm paying probably $0.06 or so per Kilowatt-hour. Can anyone explain this to me?

Re:Seems Expensive To Me (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115717)

That the purchase price per watt output. To buy a current solar cell capable of outputting 100 watts is ~$400. Their target with this thing is to be able to buy that same 100 watt cell for ~$20.

After it is installed, your power is basically free, except for maintenance.

If really becomes 1/2 cost of oil watch out (1)

j_dot_bomb (560211) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115537)

Its currently vaporware of course. (And see my comment about cnn's story using 20c / watt which means nothing to me) But if it really becomes 1/2 cost of oil, sell your energy stocks and watch for middle east termoil.

Re:If really becomes 1/2 cost of oil watch out (1)

BillFarber (641417) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115619)

watch for middle east termoil.

My God! I certainly hope we don't see middle east turmoil in my lifetime.

Nice finally (3, Funny)

chronos2266 (514349) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115548)

Now I can wear a flashy solar cell scarf to power my MIThril jacket.

a bit late (1)

nitz7978 (712386) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115560)

Just imagine had we known about this before 9/18?

Another argument against patents (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115569)

This technology has been progressing for several years, and was bound to happen eventually, but with the patent system the oil companies can and will but it out and lock it up for the next 20 years, in addition to new innovations that this technology might spawn.

Dollars/Watt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115571)

Are they talking about the cost to make a cell with a constant output of 1 Watt, or do they really mean "kilowatt hour"? A Watt is a rate of consumption, not a quantity of energy.

Just bought a solar powered watch (3, Interesting)

redcup (441955) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115574)

Darn... I just bought a solar powered watch (Citizen Eco-drive) - which requires a few hours of office level light, several minutes under a bright lamp, or just a few minutes of direct sunlight, to recharge each day.

This article makes me wonder if a substantial amount of the price was because of the power cells (no silver or gold). I'm sure a watch doesn't need the best efficiency (15-20%) of the current pricy solar cells - 10% efficiency would mean my new watch needs about 30 minutes under a lamp rather than 15-20. Big deal. Of if I'm lazy, I'll stand in the sun for 5 minutes instead of 3. :-)

Making solar power affordable, attractive and practical is the first step in converting to environmentally friendly sources of power. Cost effectiveness is a primary obstacle for new technologies, especially for the environmentally friendly. I guess the other would be defeating the entrenched monopolies that currently rely on oil and other natural resources.

Here's to a cleaner planet!

Cheers,

RC

... in other news (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115616)


Mrs. Malda is now charging 20 times more for a blow job. So it's now $1.

"Everyone at STMicroelectronics Declared ... (4, Funny)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115625)

Enemy Combatants: Carted Off to Guantanamo"

Bush commented "We didn't just have a war for oil to have folks stop using it. Switching to Solar means the terrorists have won."

Click here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115627)

Body and subject

Obligatory (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115629)

I, for one, welcome our new solar-powered overlords.

Welcome (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115646)

Welcome to our solar panel silk-screening overlords.

Welcome to our Sherwin-Williams Solar Panel Paint overlords.

Welcome to the avegarge bozo with a solar panel spray can overlord.

Welcome to...

Oh fuck it.

Re:Welcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7115723)

Welcome to our meme producing overlords.

I don't believe it guys. Sorry. (5, Insightful)

Ophidian P. Jones (466787) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115659)

I don't believe this story for a second. Not a bit.

For decades I have been folowing solar cell technology, absolutely salivating at the promises that efficiency rating would soon rise above 15%, or that costs would no longer be prohibitively expensive or damaging to the environment (moreso than more conventional, polluting alternatives).

Well, I've given up. I've read shitty pie-in-the-sky stories like this almost every year for the last 25-years.

Now, if someone on Slashdot tells me that they bought these +50% efficient solar cells in Home Depot, that's when I'll get excited. Like I'll get excited when Chevrolet markets a flying car or my city puts a nuclear fusion power plant into service.

Headline is misleading (1)

Tracy Reed (3563) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115680)

This makes it look like they are announcing a new product or something. Actually, they are announcing an R&D program which they HOPE will reduce the cost of solar cells. Hardly headline news.

What the public utilities need to do... (1)

The Lynxpro (657990) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115693)

Deploy the solar cells and hook them up to racks of fuel cells. I remember from an article in the Financial Times back in 2000 of a British start-up that had the very idea... I believe on a large scale, this would make solar just as ideal as fossil fuels for electricity production, give or take some government interference (err, "incentives")...

Power versus energy (1)

riptalon (595997) | more than 10 years ago | (#7115734)

Over a typical 20-year life span of a solar cell, a single produced watt should cost as little as $0.20, compared with the current $4.

A Watt is a unit of power (energy per unit time e.g 1 Watt = 1 Joule per second). So if the above statement is correct then it means that a solar panel that produces 1 kilowatt of power (i.e. 1 kilojoule per second) would cost $200. The "typical 20-year life span" stuff is a bit of a red herring. it just means you will need to fork out another $200 after about 20 years when the panel breaks. Of course you do need to know the typical lifespan to work out the cost per unit energy (usually quoted per kilowatt/hour for electricity). For the quoted numbers this comes out at about $0.003 per kilowatt/hour depending on how many daylight hours you can operate it for. Since average retail electricity prices in the US are on the order of $0.08 per kilowatt/hour this seems rather too good, so perhaps the above statement is incorrect, not just confusing?

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