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solar panels about to come out

Discussion in 'Photovoltaics' started by Jimmyzshack, Oct 2, 2003.

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  1. Jimmyzshack

    Jimmyzshack Guest

    AMSTERDAM (Reuters) -- A major European chip maker said this week it had
    discovered new ways to produce solar cells which will generate
    electricity twenty times cheaper than today's solar panels.

    STMicroelectronics, Europe's largest semiconductor maker, said that, by
    the end of next year, it expected to have made the first stable
    prototypes of the new cells, which could then be put into production.

    Most of today's solar cells, which convert sunlight into electricity,
    are produced with expensive silicon, the same material used in most
    semiconductors.

    The French-Italian company expects cheaper organic materials such as
    plastics to bring down the price of producing energy. Over a typical 20-
    year life span of a solar cell, a single produced watt should cost as
    little as $0.20, compared with the current $4.

    The new solar cells would even be able to compete with electricity
    generated by burning fossil fuels such as oil and gas, which costs about
    $0.40 per watt, said Salvo Coffa, who heads ST's research group that is
    developing the technology.

    "This would revolutionize the field of solar energy generation," he
    said.

    ST's trick is to use materials that are less efficient in producing
    energy from sunlight but which are extremely cheap.

    Salvo Coffa, who heads ST's research group that is developing the
    technology.This would revolutionize the field of solar energy
    generation.
    -- ST researcher Salvo Coffa


    Coffa said the materials should be able to turn at least 10 percent of
    the sun's energy into power, compared with some 20 percent for today's
    expensive silicon-based cells.

    "We believe we can demonstrate 10 percent efficiency by the end of
    2004," Coffa said.

    Following that, ST and others would need to develop production
    technologies to make solar cells and panels in large quantities to
    achieve the $0.20 per watt target, he said.

    "Our target is fixed at $0.20," said Coffa, who expects no major
    technological difficulties in going from prototypes to mass-produced
    commercial products.

    Renewable energy is an essential part of research for ST, which says its
    chip and material expertise can be used to develop future solar cells
    and fuel cells.

    ST said three weeks ago it had found a new way to produce tiny yet
    extremely efficient fuel cells that could power a mobile phone for 20
    days.
     
  2. Wow! For the first time in living memory, someone has promised us a
    breakthrough in pricing, with volume production starting around The
    End Of Next Year.

    Q: How do you keep an idiot in suspense?
    A: I'll tell you tomorrow.

    8*)
     
  3. Another stock company?

    While scepticism regarding a major breakthrough in PV technology is
    healthy - especially here amongst the perpetual motion scams - I
    wouldn't be too quick to write ST off. With nearly a half-billion in
    profit in 2002, they're not exactly a bit-player in a garage
    somewhere.

    Time will tell.

    -=s
     
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