Advances in solar electricity

Posted on Friday, December 8th, 2006 at 6:23 pm by JTE

Last month, Bill McKibben reviewed a handful of books in the New York Review of Books, including James Lovelock’s Revenge of Gaia and, somewhat in passing, Travis Bradford’s Solar Revolution: The Economic Transformation of the Global Energy Industry. I’m reminded of this because of an article from yesterday on a “breakthrough” in solar cell technology. McKibben reports that Bradford fairly convincingly predicts significant advances in solar electric technology, as well as significant drops in the cost of pv systems, mostly because of major investments in R&D in Japan and Germany. Well, the prediction might be even better than Bradford expected–this short article says that the National Renewable Energy Lab has verified the claim of Boeing-Spectrolab that it is created a solar cell with over 40% efficiency in converting sunlight to energy. This is up from, it says, most of today’s cells which are only 12%-18% efficient.

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