Monday, April 17, 2006

Solar in NY Times + Upcoming solarDweller features

Hey solarDwellers:

Man, haven't posted in a while. Ever since I got on the solar blogging train, it's hard to get off with so much exciting stuff going on in the world of solar. Having not posted for 5 days seems like an eternity in the fast-moving, complicated world of solar these days. The not cool: too much to write about, too little time. The very cool: it's not getting tiring and the ideas for writing seem never-ending. But, occasionally, the solar blogging needs a little pause action to reflect and let ideas incubate for a bit. What I'm loving . . . the trend is in tact: electricity prices increasing + more attention on global warming + good subsidy environment for solar + more competition in the solar market = long-term growth for solar and alternative energy. Yea!

Working on some ideas for posting here, such as
My new "Sun-Spotlight" feature, an original article/interview re a local business that has enjoyed the econ/enviro benefits of going solar recently

A post which will be an invitation for any of yous out there to e-mail me how much electricity you use or what your annual electricity cost is, and I'll send you a free rough estimate of what size pv system you would need and how much it might cost. (Solar) information is power, right? (the puns are flying off the shelf tonight-apologies). (Please comment, gentle reader, if you like/don't like this idea as a feature of this blog.)

Oh, maybe I should make reference to the title of this current post. NY Times Business section today featured the solar industry, and specifically SunPower, which is majority owned by Cypress Semi. Mostly a profile on the owner of CY, but worth the read which gives a picture of the momentum gathering in the solar area. This article, plus the jump over $70 barrel for oil explains the very positive day today in the market for renewable energy companies. A few of the 'graphs I found interesting from the article, re: solar growth and the HUGE amounts of silicon required . . . .

After years of promise, the market for solar power is finally taking off, with annual demand expected to increase to as much as 2,500 megawatts by the end of 2008, from about 1,000 megawatts now (which is the size of a large nuclear power plant).

For Mr. Rodgers, that is the beauty of the six-inch squares of silicon that are colored black to absorb the sun's radiation. SunPower is on track to gain the ability to make about 35 million wafers a year by the end of 2006, enough to produce 100 million watts of solar power annually.

Mr. Rodgers argues that his SunPower subsidiary has a crucial advantage over both larger and smaller competitors. While most of the industry has a conversion efficiency of around 14 percent, the SunPower photovoltaic cell will reach 21 percent, a 50 percent advantage that translates into both cost and performance leads for the company.

There are other hurdles to overcome as well. Producing 35 million silicon wafers requires more than 700 tons of silicon. "We have contracts signed for 2006, but yes, we're worried," he said. "We expect the general market will loosen up in 2008, so we've got a couple of years when we've got to wheel and deal to make sure we get it."

So glad it's sunny in California again.

--your future solarDweller

p.s Keep an eye on this company: Worldwater Corp--solar installer and mobile solar water pumping and purification
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great article. Solar lighting is also another aspect of solar energy that is little talked about. People can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year by switching to solar technology when using solar lighting fixtures for the back yard. Every little big helps.

Jonathan Gal