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New Technology May Make Solar Power More Cost Effective

Last post 04-03-2008 4:25 PM by writer lady. 1 replies.
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  • 04-02-2008 10:00 AM

    • mike
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-23-2008
    • Posts 960

    New Technology May Make Solar Power More Cost Effective

    Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered a way to make solar power cells 15-30% more efficient while barely effecting the cost. While this seems like a minute difference, it could mark a major breakthrough for the world's ability to rely on solar power as its main energy source.

    Solar power cells are made up of a thermoelectric material which generates a current when there is a difference in temperature across the material. The side exposed to the sun heats up while the shaded side remains cool, generating electricity. Gang Chen and his team discovered that by reducing the conductivity in the material, they can keep a greater difference between temperatures on either side. They have found that by grinding up and recompressing the material, they can increase efficiency by 15-30% without greatly increasing the cost of the solar cells. You can read the Full Article at Science News Online.

    What impact do you think this slight increase in power might have on our world's dependence on fossil fuels? Could this development usher in a new era of solar power, or will it just not be enough to make solar power worthwhile? 

    Every man dies, but few truly live. Live your life to its fullest, every day as if it were your last.
  • 04-03-2008 4:25 PM In reply to

    Re: New Technology May Make Solar Power More Cost Effective

    I'm certain that over the next few years, there will be more and more advances to make solar energy more cost effective. In the meantime, we've chosen to go solar in a piecemeal fashion, as we can afford the expense. In 2007, we spent about $2,000 on solar equipment and got $800 of it back on our income tax return. I have no idea how much money or energy we're saving, but I know that we feel very good about every step we take to cut down on our energy consumption.

    The biggest obstacle for us is that we're retrofitting a 50-year-old house. Building a new solar home is a lot more affordable. Unfortunately, building a new house has a considerable environmental impact. And we'd have to move to an outlying town where land is cheaper. If we did that, we'd be back to driving an hour and a half everyday--not a good environmental move.

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