Some nice information from the Cleantech Blog on the recent Solar Power 2006 conference, specifically on advances made by SunPower on increasing the efficiency of photovoltaic (PV) cells:
SunPower is approaching a 23% efficient PV. This helps it take business from typical 17% efficient PV. Dr. Richard Swanson, CEO, SunPower gave the conference good reason to expect continued high growth. He pointed out that in 1975 solar modules cost $100/watt. By 2002, the cost had fallen to $3 per watt. The industry learning curve of 30 years has been consistent – each time that production doubles, cost drops 81%. Dr. Swanson expects $1.40 per watt by 2013 and 65 cents per watt by 2023.
There is a lot of fascination with green technologies in the Valley right now, but solar really looks like the real deal in terms of technology plays. The economics are very close to fitting consumer pocketbooks (a 2.5kW single home system costs approx. $15,800 after taxes, and can cut your utility bill by 95%), and they will continue to get dramatically better. Even more exciting, it looks like a lot of competing technologies are going to be released in the next few years to really drive down the cost, and drive up the efficiency of these systems.
I found this news through Seeking Alpha, but clicking through I found a few really neat blogs on the topic:
This is technology news that is worth getting excited about.