new solar power breakthrough
from the u.s. department of energy website:
New World Record Achieved in Solar Cell Technology
New Solar Cell Breaks the “40 Percent Efficient” Sunlight-to-Electricity Barrier
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alexander Karsner today announced that 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. ... making solar electricity a more cost-competitive and integral part of our nation’s energy mix.
"Reaching this milestone heralds a great achievement for the Department of Energy and for solar energy engineering worldwide,”
Attaining a 40 percent efficient concentrating solar cell means having another technology pathway for producing cost-effective solar electricity. Almost all of today’s solar cell modules do not concentrate sunlight but use only what the sun produces naturally, what researchers call “one sun insolation,” which achieves an efficiency of 12 to 18 percent. However, by using an optical concentrator, sunlight intensity can be increased, squeezing more electricity out of a single solar cell.
UPDATE- so i just wanted to add, in plain english, what this means. the argument against solar power being a viable alternative has always been that it wasnt economically feasible, and the return just wasnt enough to warrant fully investing in solar. that argument has just been squashed, or at least squished. this just goes towards proving that with a little time, and investment of resources and brain power, there is far greater potential to alternative power sources than we presently know.
3 cheers for the greening of science and technology. we may yet find a way to survive ourselves!!1
link to full story