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Old 18-12-2007, 09:10   #1
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solar panel revolution drastically lower costs

For those who haven't yet put up panels and can wait till 2009 for their upgrade there is very good news, companies such as nanosolar have developed a process that is lowering the cost of the product to about $1 per watt (reducting costs by around 80%). Most of the improvements for the last 30 years have been either improving the growing process for silicon solar cells which still are expensive, or flexible film solar panels which are relatively inefficient. Nanosolar has developed CIGS panels printing process which can be produced through a constant roll of panels (think of a newspaper printing press producing solar panels). Bottomline is instead of paying $800 for a Kyocera 175 you could get one from Nanosolar for around $175.

The conversion efficiency will be around 12-15% (a little bit below monocrystalline panels but multiples better than any thin film) and should be a much physically lighter panel as well with 20 year plus life expectancy. By the way, the cost of coal is $2 per watt so this is the first green technology to become cheaper than coal. Miasolar is doing a similar printing involving silicon panels at also a dirt cheap price. Both are based in the US. Nanosolars production capacity which is starting now is the equivalent of every other solar manufacturer in the US combined (430 megawatts). The only bad news is demand is so huge that they are sold out through 2008 but I believe are taking orders for 2009.

I'm thinking 5 years from now we will start seeing lots of boats which have vast sections of their decks as solar panels as standard options from the factory. Ah, one more piece of bad news, they are private. If there were any way in the world to buy a piece of their stock I would but their process is so efficient (in terms of return on capital) that they don't need the start up funding that other solar manufacturers need.
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Old 18-12-2007, 09:17   #2
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Another reason to hold off if you can in purchasing solar panels is that about 80% of the companies now making solar panels will be out of business in about 3 years. This isn't an easy process to replicate, it's very capital and technology intense, and they are being produced in robotic lights out factories so cheap labor isn't a factor. My guess is that Kyocera will be like the Commodore 64.
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Old 18-12-2007, 09:50   #3
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Wow! That is very cheap for solar panels. I will look to start installing this on our house in 2 or 3 years as well as our boat if the price does indeed come down to what it is supposed to. That would be great.
Thanks for this info.
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Old 18-12-2007, 09:57   #4
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I ran across another solar article which promises much greater efficiency. THAT would be more of a benefit to boats as for a given area you would get much more power.
On a boat, the cost is not as much a factor as space to put the panels for a given need.

Google for Full Spectrum solar.

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Old 18-12-2007, 10:01   #5
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I saw an article on a new tech process that kicked up the efficiency of the panel to something below 50 percent. Further, I am *told* there is a company that is weaving solar material into tent fabric for certain armed forces groups that require increasing amounts of electricity to perform their operations. Now wouldn't that be something to have sails and awnings that incorporated your solar

Now if we could just fast forward a few years

seer
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Old 18-12-2007, 10:44   #6
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Nanotechnology is building now at full production, but even with greater capacity than the rest of the US combined they are sold out for a year, but it is here. Regarding efficiency, CIGS, which nanosolar uses, could eventually be brought up to about 20% efficiency, about the same as the best silicon cells. With multijunction cells, such as the ones spectrolab produces, have been produced with efficiencies above 30% since 2004 but they are very expensive to produce and achieve their efficiency through solar concentrators.
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Old 18-12-2007, 11:20   #7
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Old 18-12-2007, 12:56   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schoonerdog View Post
... By the way, the cost of coal is $2 per watt ...
The cost of coal-fired electricity is often quoted as $2/w/Hour, which does NOT INCLUDE the cost of the coal, nor it's very significant environmental cost.
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Old 18-12-2007, 13:37   #9
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True, very true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
The cost of coal-fired electricity is often quoted as $2/w/Hour, which does NOT INCLUDE the cost of the coal, nor it's very significant environmental cost.
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Old 18-12-2007, 13:51   #10
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Hurry up and get those panels over here guys.
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Old 18-12-2007, 13:52   #11
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If anyone is interested, the original article is on the NY Times site at:
Start-Up Sells Solar Panels at Lower-Than-Usual Cost - New York Times
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Old 18-12-2007, 16:09   #12
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Wow, this is great news! Thanks for linking the article...
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Old 18-12-2007, 16:13   #13
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Lightbulb

Are they a publicly traded company?
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Old 18-12-2007, 16:20   #14
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No, they're a startup and funded by private placement and venture capital.

See Nanosolar - Home Page

For current investors see Nanosolar - Investors

They say "Nanosolar is presently not accepting new capital." Which is not surprising. It's doubtful that we mere mortals could get a piece of their IPO when and if it happens (unless you got a really good "private banker").
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Old 18-12-2007, 18:24   #15
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I'll believe it when I see it.... *SIGH*
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