Photovoltaics Comes of Age

Solar panels are cheap enough to become a major component of green energy.
Originally posted at: MIT Technology Review

Zweibel-KenThe United States has supported research into photovoltaics for almost 40 years, recently with a 30 percent investment tax credit. Japan instituted incentives in the 1990s, when photovoltaics cost at least five times as much as residential electricity. In the new millennium, Germany instituted incentives an order of magnitude larger.

Thanks to these efforts, the cost of photovoltaic modules has dropped 40 percent in the last 18 months. Photovoltaic electricity now costs about 15 cents per kilowatt-hour in the best sunlight. That’s only twice the cost of wholesale electricity and wind. Costs are expected to continue decreasing, and electricity is worth more during the daytime than at night. That means this technology is finally cheap enough to become a significant element in plans to combat climate change and oil dependence.

Paula Mints on the Failure of Tenuous Films

photovoltaicsPaula Mints is a reputable delegate of the PV community elite. Her article in Solar Industry (November 2010) is not incorrect, it is just profound enough. Yes, to a high degree, tenuous film miscarried to modernize PV modules. But there are too many entertaining points to make out from her data to block there.

Perhaps Mints’ most conclusive tabular facts of the misfortune of tenuous films to modernize PV is her Figure 1, tenuous films share of total deliverables. She signifies that tenuous films’ share gone up in 1988 at 32% and gone down from there to 5% in 2004. Then it only picked up slightly to 17% by 2009. She didn’t take numbers from 2010, but push to the growth of Chinese silicon, tenuous film share may even go down in 2010. Is this the distinctive for a revolution?