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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
From the article (link):


A new patents pending solar energy system will soon make it possible to produce electricity at a wholesale cost of 5 cents per kWh (kilowatt hour). This price is competitive with the wholesale cost of producing electricity using fossil fuels and a fraction of the current cost of solar energy.

XCPV (Xtreme Concentrated Photovoltaics), a system that concentrates the equivalent of more than 1,600 times the sun’s energy onto the world’s most efficient solar cells, was announced today by Sunrgi, a solar energy system designer and developer, at the National Energy Marketers Association’s 11th Annual Global Energy Forum in Washington, DC. The technology will enable power companies, businesses, and residents to produce electricity from solar energy at a lower cost than ever before.
Maybe we'll get that solar roof on a volt for cheap yet.
 

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Well, I would like to see this technology in action first.
I am a firm believer that solar tech is very close - and I think with the electric car becoming mainstream could push the prices down of solar tech ( more buyers, bigger market ) and the technology will see some heavy improvements.

Interesting if it works.
 

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Yea and Nanosolar's been promising theirs for years and on and on. When it shows up for that price at the Home Depot I'll believe it. Otherwise it's just a lot of empty promises of what they're 'gonna be able to do'.
 

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Sungri or other solar concentrating technologies cannot be practically incorporated in the roof of the Volt. There has to be a gap between the concentrator and the solar cell making them too thick for practical application in low Cd car's roofs.

Solar manufacturing is ramping up exponentially, but it will be a while before oversupply is enough to bring prices down to cost based pricing. Nanosolar is just starting production and is sold out for a long time. Others, like First Solar, have started construction or design of plants that will grow their production multiple times. Problem is, it will be a long time before supply overtakes demand enough to bring prices below a "reasonable" premium over legacy energy. Solar pricing will never be brought even with current costs of non-fixed energy sources until there is excess supply. Until then, you can take some comfort in the fact that solar companies will make some value money and invest the extra earnings to increase production that much more rapidly. I'm just hoping solar prices come down so that it's cost is close to that of legacy energy with a 30 year analysis assuming 3.5% annual price increases for the legacy power. Everyone should be comfortable paying this premium plus a little to fix energy costs for 30 years, energy security, and environmental benefits.

http://investor.firstsolar.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=273313
http://investor.firstsolar.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=266440
 

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I think there have been two big breakthroughs in making solar energy feasible:

- creating thin film panels using printing methods on cheap aluminum (required nano structures of the PV materials)

- concentrating the suns rays to a magnitude where it was cost effective to use the most efficient (and expensive) PV substrates (required high-tech cooling approach)

Once the strategy was determined, other breakthroughs in both these areas allowed for feasible RE<C (renewable energy less than coal) solar power.
 

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coal always cheaper

Coal will be cheaper than solar for many, many years to come unless CO2 sequestration is mandated. Considering that we don't even mandate removing Hg, which is relatively cheap, I'm skeptical about the prospects of sequestration. The generation cost of coal is ~$0.03-0.05/kWh today. The $0.05/kWh that is shown on SunRGI's website is for a sunny climate. It will be 2-4 times higher than that in places like NY state. Also, this does not include the costs for energy storage which would be required for wind and solar to replace coal/nuclear/hydro due to the uncontrolled nature of sun and wind.

My point? If we want solar and wind to overtake coal, we need to lobby strongly for CO2 sequestration.
 

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When it shows up for that price at the Home Depot I'll believe it. Otherwise it's just a lot of empty promises of what they're 'gonna be able to do'.
RIGHT ON! The Internet is overflowing with sites talking about their big break throughs in solar, wind, hydrogen, zero point energy, magnetic motors, electric cars, etc, etc, etc... Not a one of them is offering a product that I can order and install on my home or in my car. Like you said, when I can go to Home Depot or Auto Zone and actually buy a product and install it in my car or on my property, then come talk to me. Otherwise, most of these are just dreamers and/or scam artists.
 

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RIGHT ON! The Internet is overflowing with sites talking about their big break throughs in solar, wind, hydrogen, zero point energy, magnetic motors, electric cars, etc, etc, etc... Not a one of them is offering a product that I can order and install on my home or in my car. Like you said, when I can go to Home Depot or Auto Zone and actually buy a product and install it in my car or on my property, then come talk to me. Otherwise, most of these are just dreamers and/or scam artists.
You and efusco have a point, but the reality is, all these techs are being installed in Germany, Spain and California. Utilities - national, state and local, are moving on the benefits at a pace faster than those companies can produce, so it will be a long while before we see anything at Home Depot, unless the Walton family decides to invest / buy some tech to sell through Sam's Club. Sam's Club did offer a small EV through its catalog, but, as you say, you couldn't walk to your local store and drive off with one.
 

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i am of course skeptical as well until i see it being produced and used in large-scale industrial applications (as they say will be their first market). but what makes me less skeptical about this than about other similar things i've seen is that they are not soliciting investment dollars... so while most of the "amazing energy technology breakthrough" web sites i've seen all have links to a stock they want you to buy--this one says: "SUNRGI is a privately-held company and is neither soliciting nor accepting investment from members of the general public." That's good news in my mind.
 

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Well let them go at it...maybe they have something. Here is a quote that applies to all new tech. "If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"
- Albert Einstein
 

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Coal will be cheaper than solar for many, many years to come unless CO2 sequestration is mandated. Considering that we don't even mandate removing Hg, which is relatively cheap, I'm skeptical about the prospects of sequestration. The generation cost of coal is ~$0.03-0.05/kWh today. The $0.05/kWh that is shown on SunRGI's website is for a sunny climate. It will be 2-4 times higher than that in places like NY state. Also, this does not include the costs for energy storage which would be required for wind and solar to replace coal/nuclear/hydro due to the uncontrolled nature of sun and wind.
As a son of the great state of WV, I can agree whole-heartedly with this. 97% of power generated in the state is coal, and solar as it is now just isn't going to be practical for widespread usage here. Our winters are cold, with lots of snow to cover the panels. We have mostly mountanous terrain, providing us even less usable time for solar compared to CA, NV, or NM (basically, any state that you can see for more than 20 miles without a mountain in your way.

That being said...I'm still a believer that even if we don't get optimal usage out of solar in the state, just getting some of it (or if cheap solar panels became widespeard, most of it) during the day will help with CO2 emmisions. Sure, at night, the ol' generators will be the only thing providing power, but any change and improvement is better than none.

There will never be a cure-all solution for our energy problems, short of nuclear (but it's stigmata's, both real and imagine guarentee it won't be), much as politicians, bussinessment, and environmentalists like to believe. Every new technology thinks it's the best, and wants to be the only one that makes it in the market. What they fail to realize is how large an impact they could make if they were all used where they were optimal. With us, it isn't solar, but wind generation is actually quite practical here, and is taking off in the state. You wouldn't believe some of the HUGE (and I mean HUUUUUUUGE) windmill blades I've seen going down the highway these last few years, and they just keep getting more frequent.

Oh, yeah, I'm CPUkill, and I'm new here. I've been a diehard Chevy man for a long time, and while I probably won't be able to buy a brand new Volt the second it's out, I'm really looking forward to seeing the technologies in it put into something practical for use in vehicles for my needs (specifically, a truck). I'm also a damn-dirty-hippy liberal at heart, even if I am a redneck.
 

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Everyone has good points here. I just want to say that personally when Nanosolar went into volume production using their large roll-to-roll process I slept better that night. There's a huge difference between a researcher that claims a breakthrough to one then has a pilot plant running. The biggest difference however is when all of the tiny details have been ironed out enough for volume production.

People just do not realize how hard this is. Having the Volt hit large volumes with all the suppliers cranking out the required parts is a monumental task. As these large volumes continue, extremely expensive research and development and manufacturing build-out costs start to be paid off. Then the brilliant manufacturing engineers at all of the suppliers start to tweak the processes and drive the costs down little by little. It tires me out just thinking about it. If you run into any of these guys give them a big hug for the thankless jobs they do.
 
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