Solar Cell 40% Efficiency Breakthough, becomes Product Ready

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

This 40% breakthrough … has finally become available for your home (maybe?) and office use …

Solar cell breaks efficiency record

Michael Kanellos, CNET News — December 6, 2006

Boeing-Spectrolab has developed a solar cell that can convert almost 41 percent of the sunlight that strikes it into electricity, the latest step in trying to drop the cost of solar power.

Potentially, the solar cell could bring the cost of solar power down to around $3 a watt, after installation costs and other expenses are factored in, over the life of the panel.


Current silicon solar cells provide electricity at about $8 a watt, before government rebates. The goal is to bring it to $1 a watt without rebates or incentives.…

Here is the Final Product from Spectrolab for your Home use. from this week’s news.

Here is the Product page from Opel Solar:

The OPEL Solar Mk-I High Concentration Photovoltaic Panel (HCPV)…

Here is the specs sheet:…

Ask Home Depot to start stocking them, I bet they would!

I can remember when 20% efficiency in Solar Cells was big news.

And if I’m not mistaken, traditional Power Generation turbines,

are ONLY about 50% efficient
— due to basic Physics.

So 40% conversion efficiency in solar is Huge.

And traditional Power Plants still need to pay for their Carbon-ladened Fuel!

Thermal efficiency

When expressed as a percentage, the thermal efficiency must be between 0% and 100%. Due to inefficiencies such as friction, heat loss, and other factors, thermal engines’ efficiencies are typically much less than 100%. For example,

a typical gasoline automobile engine operates at around 25% efficiency, and a

large coal-fueled electrical generating plant peaks at about 46%.

The largest diesel engine in the world peaks at 51.7%. In a combined cycle plant, thermal efficiencies are approaching 60%.[2]


Power plants: Rankine cycle

The Rankine cycle is the cycle used in steam turbine power plants. The overwhelming majority of the world’s electric power is produced with this cycle. Since the cycle’s working fluid, water, changes from liquid to vapor and back during the cycle, their efficiencies depend on the thermodynamic properties of water. The thermal efficiency of modern steam turbine plants with reheat cycles can reach 47%, and in combined cycle plants it can approach 60%.[3]…

(guess, I’m NOT mistaken.)

Well if the current Solar Cell break-through at Boeing-Spectrolab can be mass-produced, and improved upon, we just may have something that can finally compete with Fossil Fuels.

And the best part about it the “Fuel” from the Sun (ie. “non-concentrated” Fossil Fuels)

IT IS FREE !!!  

Free for the taking.

Here are some of the Spectrolab “manufacturing specs” — sounds like Mass Production is feasible —

which is the key to bringing that $3 a watt price down even further.

Boeing Spectrolab Terrestrial Solar Cell Surpasses 40 Percent Efficiency

News Release, Dec. 06, 2006

“This solar cell performance is the highest efficiency level any photovoltaic device has ever achieved,” said Dr. David Lillington, president of Spectrolab. “The terrestrial cell we have developed uses the same technology base as our space-based cells. So, once qualified, they can be manufactured in very high volumes with minimal impact to production flow.”

High efficiency multijunction cells have a significant advantage over conventional silicon cells in concentrator systems because fewer solar cells are required to achieve the same power output. This technology will continue to dramatically reduce the cost of generating electricity from solar energy as well as the cost of materials used in high-power space satellites and terrestrial applications.

“These results are particularly encouraging since they were achieved using a new class of metamorphic semiconductor materials, allowing much greater freedom in multijunction cell design for optimal conversion of the solar spectrum,” said Dr. Richard R. King, principal investigator of the high efficiency solar cell research and development effort. “The excellent performance of these materials hints at still higher efficiency in future solar cells.”


Currently, Spectrolab’s terrestrial concentrator cells are generating power in a 33-kilowatt full-scale concentrator system in the Australian desert.…

We need to start mining the Sunlight that falls unnoticed in the vast deserts of the world, NOW.

(Click for Larger Image)

Article that explains these Solar Footprints, which in theory COULD one day power the World!

With the break-throughs in Power Transmission technology (HVdc – High Voltage Direct Current)

moving ALL that “excess” Sunlight, to where it’s needed, is quite feasible too.

The European Union is already pursuing this Goal. … SO, Why not the U.S?

All that is lacking is the Nation will, the vision,

and the Investment in the next Wave of Innovation.

We Invest in College, for the chance at a Better life

Why not, Invest in Clean Energy now, for the chance at a Better World?

Information Age move over!

the Age of Clean Energy is about to begin.

Sooner or Later, the Economics will demand it.

Afterall it costs more to build huge walls KEEP OUT the rising storm surges —

than it does to mine the Planet’s Clean Energy, free for any Science-based Species to take advantage of.

And if we didn’t have to keep fighting Foreign Wars,

to secure “our” Oil Reserves, under their sands — imagine the cost savings, there.

Smart Meters, and a Smart Energy grids being funded by the Green Jobs Stimulus are a great start

Inside the Plan

The $3.4 billion in Smart Grid Investment Grant awards are part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and will be matched by industry funding for a total public-private investment worth more than $8 billion. See full listings of the grant awards by category and state, plus a map, from…


Category 1 Advanced Metering Infrastructure

Category 2 Customer Systems

Category 3 Electric Distribution Systems

Category 4 Electric Transmission Systems

Category 5 Equipment Manufacturing

Category 6 Integrated and/or Crosscutting Systems

Dept of Energy Doc (pdf)

Smart Meters, and a Smart Energy grids being funded by the Green Jobs Stimulus are a great start

They allows ordinary consumers to go on-line with their own Solar and Wind Power generation,

and maybe even make a profit in the process, with their own Point Source power.

But these efforts need to go further, faster.

The world’s Ice Caps are melting NOW, while we continue to debate —

the already established Science!  (and continue to gossip about the emails of a couple of mis-guided researchers.)

Going, Going … Gone! … (Wilkins Ice Shelf)……

Sooner or Later, we need to Act, to reverse our reliance on Fossil Fuels —

Nature will demand it.

Let’s NOT squander and bury this 40% Technology Break-through too,

leaving it for some far off Future Generation, to implement.

Even Children can see what’s happening to our planet home —

SO Why NOT the Adults?  NOT ALL Opinions are created equally

Some Facts, once established by Science, should be beyond dispute

Such Facts should be a call for Action!

The time for Change is now.

We ARE the Future, We have been waiting for!

also posted on dkos


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    • jamess on December 6, 2009 at 21:51

    It has taken the Human Species,

    to the great advances which we enjoy today.

    So why have so many abandoned it?

    Scientific Facts, once established to a high degree of confidence —

    should be a call for action,

    NOT an excuse, for more never-ending Spin and Debate.

    NOT ALL Opinions are Created Equal

    The Flat Earth Society – WAS Wrong!

    Game Over,

    It’s time to move on, already!

  1. Which stands for central power system vs individual power system.

    How does one control people?  Keep them dependent upon you for the essential resouces of life.  Like power.

    Consider the requirements needed to manufacture solar arrays.  The purification of silicon wafers, the construction of wafer fabs, the stainless steel, the vacuum pumps, the deposition components.  And the sun goes down, what to do at night.

    “A thing running in your basement providing all the power you would ever need, that you never have to touch…..”

    Richard Hoagland.

    • jamess on December 7, 2009 at 00:32

    much appreciated.

    Science is interesting,

    isn’t it.

  2. between Sedona and Phoenix in March, 2006, and noted an exhibit indicating that, on a sunny day, the amount of solar energy landing on an area the size of a tennis court represented the equivalent of 6 gallons of gasoline per hour!  

    Assuming that my recall is accurate, even if that figure denoted the total amount of energy striking that area, it would seem that 40% efficiency would translate into the equivalent of 2.4 gallons per hour.  This would seem to suggest that a vehicle normally getting 30 miles per gallon could travel at 72 miles per hour on a constant basis if this level of energy could be captured and stored in an on-board battery.

    This story provides a nice counterpart to a less encouraging article appearing in yesterday’s edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  The headline and first two paragraphs of the story provide a revealing introduction:

    Last updated December 5, 2009 2:28 p.m. PT

    $350M grant awarded for ‘clean’ Texas coal plant


    ODESSA, Texas — The federal Department of Energy has awarded a $350 million grant to a company that plans to build a more environmentally friendly coal-fired plant in West Texas.

    Summit Texas Clean Energy LLC of Bainbridge Island, Wash., is pitching a $1.7 billion plant capable of producing 400 megawatts, enough to power 400,000 homes.

    If this has piqued your curiousity, you can view the rest of the story here.

    Clean coal?  If this bill of goods can be sold to the American people, what will be next? Clean hog waste ponds that are safe for swimming?  

    Jamess, thank you for sending some good news our way (it seems to be such a rare commodity these days).

  3. So, you get it here instead.

    Helluva diary and the news is encouraging.  I’d spend $2-$3 a watt for PV panels and then the extra $ for the conversion and/or storage system to support it.  I think that most Americans would, too.  But $8 per watt is still out of reach for most consumers.

    When some company is able to summon up the guts it takes to produce high-efficiency PV at an affordable price per watt, this nation will see a fundamental change in how it produces and uses energy.

    My greatest personal goal is to charge my electric car (when THOSE are ever available) with the energy produced by my PV panels and drive that thing to work and back every day without ever using grid power.  Hell, I’d be happy to start with something like a SmartCar hybrid – but they don’t make a hybrid that I know of, and nobody has a plug-in hybrid out there yet.

    We shall see, huh?

    Celtic Merlin


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