Nanosolar: Power to the People
by Triple Pundit
Environmental News Network, November 13, 2007
Nanosolar coatings are as thin as a layer of paint and can tranfer sunlight into power quite efficiently. Imagine the possibilities, from solar coated shingles to solar lined windows to solar powered cell phones and ipods. Solar powered buildings and homes might just become standard in the future thanks to this innovative technology by Nanosolar Inc. The almighty dollar will launch these thin-film solar cells into worldwide applications thanks to the fact that it's actually cheaper than burning coal. The underlying technology for these solar cells is nothing new, having been around for decades, but Nanosolar has created the actual technology to manufacture and mass produce the solar sheets. The solar cells are produced by a solar printing press of sorts rolling out these aptly named PowerSheets rapidly and cheaply. The machines apply a layer of solar-absorbing nano-ink onto metal sheets as thin as aluminum foil reducing production costs to a mere tenth of current solar panels and at a rate of several hundred feet per minute. The first commercial cells for consumer use are scheduled to be released this year.
Cost has always been the burdening factor weighing down the mass application of solar technology at nearly $3 per watt. In order to compete with the energy produced from coal solar has been in need of finding a way to shrink its costs down to $1 per watt. Nanosolar's cells use absolutely no silicon as is the standard for current solar production and the efficiency of the PowerSheet cells are competitive with the traditional systems as well. The golden kicker, the cost to produce these solar coatings is a mere 30 cents per watt!!
Nanosolar has built what is soon to be the largest solar plant in world in San Jose and once full production begins early next year the facility is capable of producing a whopping 430 megawatts per year, more than the combined total of every other solar manufacturer in the U.S. The biggest problem for Nanosolar is keeping up with the impending solar boom. California recently launched the Million Solar Roofs initiative providing tax breaks and rebates to encourage the installation of $100,000 solar roofs per year for a solid decade. Thanks to the innovative approach Nanosolar is poised to launch the solar revolution and we the consumer stand to benefit greatly as the result.
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