Ming the Mechanic:
40% efficiency in solar cells

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 40% efficiency in solar cells2006-12-06 22:04
by Flemming Funch

US Dept. of Energy:
...with DOE funding, a concentrator solar cell produced by Boeing-Spectrolab has recently achieved a world-record conversion efficiency of 40.7 percent, establishing a new milestone in sunlight-to-electricity performance. This breakthrough may lead to systems with an installation cost of only $3 per watt, producing electricity at a cost of 8-10 cents per kilowatt/hour, making solar electricity a more cost-competitive and integral part of our nation’s energy mix.
That's very good news. But there's something kind of perverted about converting it to a cost per kWh, as if that makes it an even comparison with pumping oil out of the ground and burning it. Anyway, as somebody on Slashdot calculates, that should mean that a square 265 miles on a side in the American southwest could handle the whole world's energy needs.

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7 Dec 2006 @ 05:58 by bushman : Ya
its just that easy, batteries and sun, yet, they probably wouldn't work very good during a nuclear winter, lol. Still, there is some really good consumer equipment out there, and people with money should invest in a good solar conversion setup. Maybe the icecaps melt, we can reflect the sun back out into space with our solar cells. I was also thinking, if CO2 is a problem, then why not somehow incorperate it with building materials, if it catches fire, it off gases CO2, and puts itself out. Just some unique ways to store it while we ween ourselves off burning stuff. :}  

7 Dec 2006 @ 10:01 by swanny : 40%?
that sounds hard to believe because my old records show
no current system has over I think it was 10% or so
over its life time.
If this is true then...

7 Dec 2006 @ 11:28 by ming : Solar Cells
I think the trick is mainly that it includes a lens that concentrates the light before it arrives at the actual solar cell. So it is maybe cheating to say that it is solar cells with 40% efficiency.  

7 Dec 2006 @ 13:38 by swanny : Ah...!!!
Well cheating? yes I guess
although cheating for the sake or benefit
of the environment? I suppose its like
wearing glasses... thats cheating to then...
I suppose it averages out but a case in point of
the lessor of two cheatings.
Okay what am I saying?
Is the cheating sustainable?
Sustainable cheating...
I should google that.

Do you ever get the feeling I'm somewhat hopeless?

Yes! Yupper...

Well nothing a little apricot brandy and chocolate
can't cure.

Makes a nice light breakfast.

What was the question?

Well Eintsein said "make it as simple as possible
but no simpler".

and he got away with it....

was he a goof or what?


I am somewhat under the weather today...

I need more brandy I think.


7 Dec 2006 @ 13:58 by swanny : Google result
Awesome google has it

cheating link = http://heart-of-rain.blogspot.com/2006/03/business-ethics-in-bible.html

sustainable cheating...??
Well I suppose its a case like rationalization in a way but where do you draw the line...?
and then again one should not have to suffer fools or should one maybe having been perhaps an equal fool at one time...
I suppose it works out to judgement and principal calls.
No blanket answer or policy then...
Fudging. I suppose it gets us into the vague "grey area" A rule of thumb I suppose is the golden rule and there may be some benefits for all for while lies and white cheating
but see we try to rationalize unjust policies... It is hypocritical
but like democracy, until something better comes along its the best system we've got. It would seem to be the reality of the day as well...
Not necessarily good though but the best philosophy is about profound problems
not word meanings and clean and sustainable energy is a profound problem so...


12 Jan 2007 @ 06:07 by Matt @ : huh?
I'm a Christian but how did this get from solar cells to Jacob and lot? I mean Christ did have a parable about the servant who was caught cheating. He was in charge of all of his master's business, so after he was caught he thought "I am too proud to beg and I can not dig ditches..." so he went and got out his master's books and called in some of the people who owed his master the most. He asked the first, "how much do you owe?" then he marked down that he only owed like half of that and did this for like three of his master's debtor's. This gained him friends so that once his master kicked him to the curb he would have people who would take him in. Christ said that he was very shrewd and that the children of men were much more crafty in earthly dealings than the children of the light. Was Christ condoning this? Shrugs. It sure sounded like it in that one, but then again there are also instances that say that your eternal blessings which you will have to put up with much longer will be measured out to you by the same measure that you use when dealing with other people. So I guess the point is to decide when you want to enjoy things, now or in the long eternal haul that is to come.

Anyway, now back on subject. Solar cells are a lot more expensive and difficult to build than the cheap reflectors or fresnel lenses used to concentrate the sunlight, so it makes sense. You also have to think that the cost of production doesn't just stop at present day expenses, there is the long term cost too. I have read some interesting stuff though that say that just the solar cells isn't the answer. There is a guy who wrote about solar polution. He said that if you say did what was said above and absorbed the solar radiation that was supposed to strike a large section of ground and then piped the electricity to another location that there could be environmental impact from that as well. Also these cells intensify sunlight and part of sunlight is heat which would be immediately released into the air, instead of absorbed into the ground and then radiated slowly through the night to provide a more constant temperature. This could cause environmental temperature swings in downwind areas that could change local climate.

Also, a reliable source of cheap, supposedly polution free energy has hidden costs. Check out http://www.springerlink.com/content/j5704l1r3nw64763/ for some of the things I am talking about. Other things are that there are polutions produced when making solar cells. Do the companies producing the cells use solar energy? When there is a low cost alternative to petrolium based electricity production people will want to use more electricity and therefore will have a higher consumer demand for end user electronics which for the most part have petroleum based plastic cases and each have their own polution associated with them. The polution associated with cell phones alone is astronomical.

Okay I am starting to sound like I hug trees. (nobody saw me I checked)

But anyway, The solar cells are indeed cool and should be looked into further. If you have ever seen those flat page magnifiers with all the lines in them you can take one of those and use a cardboard box and high temp silver paint and a photovoltaic cell from radio shack to make your own version if you're a hobbiest. You probably want to cut some air holes as it will get pretty hot. It will also shorten the life of the cell but it's neat.


12 Jan 2007 @ 17:01 by ming : Hidden costs
Yeah, there are always some hidden costs and byproducts, which need to be part of the equation. You know, recycling takes a lot of energy too, so it doesn't always add up positively.

But one ought to imagine that a helluva lot of solar panels in some place that otherwise is a desert ought to be meaningful. And if one can make solar farms large enough to supply practically all our energy, then that electricity would from then on be the energy input in whatever else we'd produce, rather than fossil fuels.  

1 May 2008 @ 00:33 by Tom Reed @ : concentrator solar cell
The concentrator solar cell was developed by Applied Solar Engery in 1983. before General motors started Spectrol lab. I know because i work on the cell and still hav a couple hunder of them. the problem is the heat generated and the removal of the heat. I worked on the GAAS cells and ther still working on the rover today.
Solar does work if installed correctly, and payback cost is accepted at 10 to 15yrs. I just completed a solar installation for a city in so cal to run there landscaping water system. the pay back is 10.5 yr. Panel life will be 30 to 50 yrs and battery replacment will be every 15-20 yrs.  

29 Apr 2016 @ 04:56 by Audel @ : eMreZRdGDbxAUBAW
Bookslinger,If God wants has a revelation for the whole church he gives revelations to the whole church. (See the D&C as an example). If nobody on the committee even claims they received revelations regarding the family proclamation then why would you insist it is &##;s022ecretly&88221; a revelation anyway?  

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