Energy News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Energy News Articles in Media
Imagine a solar panel without the panel. Just a coating, thin as a layer of paint, that takes light and converts it to electricity. From there, you can picture roof shingles with solar cells built inside and window coatings that seem to suck power from the air. Consider solar-powered buildings stretching not just across sunny Southern California, but through China and India and Kenya as well, because even in those countries, going solar will be cheaper than burning coal. That’s the promise of thin-film solar cells: solar power that’s ubiquitous because it’s cheap. The basic technology has been around for decades, but this year, Silicon Valley–based Nanosolar created the manufacturing technology that could make that promise a reality. The company produces its PowerSheet solar cells with printing-press-style machines that set down a layer of solar-absorbing nano-ink onto metal sheets as thin as aluminum foil, so the panels can be made for about a tenth of what current panels cost and at a rate of several hundred feet per minute. Nanosolar’s first commercial cells rolled off the presses this year. Cost has always been one of solar’s biggest problems. Traditional solar cells require silicon, and silicon is an expensive commodity. That means even the cheapest solar panels cost about $3 per watt of energy they go on to produce. To compete with coal, that figure has to shrink to just $1 per watt. Nanosolar’s cells use no silicon, and the company’s manufacturing process allows it to create cells that are as efficient as most commercial cells for as little as 30 cents a watt. "It really is quite a big deal in terms of altering the way we think about solar and in inherently altering the economics of solar," says Dan Kammen, founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley.
Note: For exciting reports of other new energy technologies, click here.
Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine the UN climate change report. Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute, an ExxonMobil-funded think tank with close links to the Bush Administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of the report. Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered. The institute has received more than $1.6 million from ExxonMobil - which yesterday announced a $50 billion annual profit, the biggest ever by a US company - and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush Administration. A former head of ExxonMobil, Lee Raymond, is the vice-chairman of the institute's board of trustees.
The star at last week's Philadelphia Auto Show wasn't a sports car or an economy car. It was a sports-economy car — one that combines performance and practicality under one hood. But as CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman reports in this week's Assignment America, the car that buyers have been waiting decades [for] comes from an unexpected source and runs on soybean bio-diesel fuel to boot. A car that can go from zero to 60 in four seconds and get more than 50 miles to the gallon would be enough to pique any driver's interest. So who do we have to thank for it. Ford? GM? Toyota? No — just Victor, David, Cheeseborough, Bruce, and Kosi, five kids from the auto shop program at West Philadelphia High School. The five kids ... built the soybean-fueled car as an after-school project. It took them more than a year — rummaging for parts, configuring wires and learning as they went. As teacher Simon Hauger notes, these kids weren't exactly the cream of the academic crop. "If you give kids that have been stereotyped as not being able to do anything an opportunity to do something great, they'll step up," he says. Stepping up is something the big automakers have yet to do. They're still in the early stages of marketing hybrid cars while playing catch-up to the Bad News Bears of auto shop. "We made this work," says Hauger. "We're not geniuses. So why aren't they doing it?" Kosi thinks he knows why. The answer, he says, is the big oil companies.
Note: So why isn't this remarkable engine design breakthrough making front page headlines in all major media? Why aren't the many other major energy breakthroughs that have been reported given the headlines they deserve? Could it be that those who are reaping huge profits from oil sales have much more political and media influence than you might imagine? For lots more reliable information on this, click here.
that can travel the world using a fraction of the electricity it takes to power
a light bulb has been unveiled by its British creators. The hydrogen-powered
Ech2o needs just 25 Watts -- the equivalent of less than two gallons of petrol
-- to complete the 25,000-mile global trip, while emitting nothing more hazardous
than water. But with a top speed of 30mph, the journey would take more than
a month to complete. Ech2o, built by British gas firm BOC, will
bid to smash the world fuel efficiency record of over 10,000 miles per gallon
at the Shell Eco Marathon. The record is currently ... 5,385 km/per liter [12,900
mpg!]. John Carolin, BOC global director sustainable energy: "It sounds
unbelievable how little power is used to keep the BOC Ech2o moving, but it demonstrates
the impact of careful design and is a valuable lesson for car makers in the
Note: If these small test cars get over 10,000 miles per gallon, why aren't new cars getting at least 100 mpg?
California refiners are simply cashing in on a system that allows a handful of players to keep prices high by carefully controlling supplies. The result is a kind of miracle market in which profits abound, outsiders can't compete and a dwindling cadre of gas station operators has little choice but go along. Refiners "not only control how much supply is in the marketplace, they control who gets it and at what price," said Dennis DeCota, executive director of the California Service Station and Automotive Repair Assn. The recent history of California's fuel industry is a textbook case of how a once-competitive business can become skewed to the advantage of a few, all with the federal government's blessing. Refiners acknowledge their California businesses have become the most profitable in the nation. The rest of the country isn't far behind. Characteristics once unique to California — specialty fuels, a refinery shortage, the growing dominance of a few companies — have begun to plague other gasoline markets.
ENRON: The Smartest Guys in the Room [is] the inside story of one of history’s greatest business scandals, in which top executives of America’s seventh largest company walked away with over one billion dollars while investors and employees lost everything. Based on the best-selling book ... this tale of greed, hubris and betrayal reveals the outrageous personal excesses of the Enron hierarchy and the moral vacuum that led CEO Ken Lay - along with other players including accounting firm Arthur Andersen, Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Skilling and Chief Financial Officer Andy Fastow - to manipulate securities trading, bluff the balance sheets and deceive investors. By 2000, the company has grown into the largest natural gas merchant in North America, eventually branching out into trading other commodities. Jeff Skilling is named CEO, and the company stock skyrockets. Meanwhile, Skilling’s “black box” accounting results in declared earnings of 53 million dollars for a collapsing deal that doesn’t profit a cent. And Enron’s West Coast power desk has its most profitable month ever as California citizens become casualties of Enron’s scheme to artificially increase demand for electricity, resulting in rolling blackouts and two deaths. When Enron’s sleight of hand accounting and unethical trading eventually meet the realities of balance sheets that don’t balance and products that don’t exist, unwitting employees who have anchored their financial futures to the Enron ship watch in horror as water rushes in overhead.
Note: Watch this revealing documentary on this webpage. Enron was American's seventh-largest public company and controlled 25 percent of the nation's energy before it failed in 2002. Its stock plummeted from $90 a share to 9 cents a share in a matter of months after fraud was uncovered. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Tucked away on the Toyota stand you will find a cheeky little coupé that looks sporty but whose raison d’ętre is fuel economy, the lowest exhaust emissions and ease of recycling. The ES3 — the initials stand for Eco Spirit — achieves 104mpg in the official European fuel consumption tests, a record for a four-seat car. Some months ago I drove this prototype and not only is it even more economical than the special “3 litre” (three litres of fuel for every 100km travelled, or 94mpg) versions of the Audi A2 and VW Lupo that sell in Germany, but the Toyota is more lively and responsive and would be very acceptable as an everyday car. The ES3 has a 1.4 litre turbocharged diesel engine and CVT (continuously variable transmission).
Note: So what happened to this amazing car? Why haven't we heard anything about it since the article was published in 2002? Read the revealing WantToKnow.info article at this link to learn how this amazing car, which was the talk of the fuel economy car industry in 2002, eventually disappeared. And for an excellent essay which provides key information on this topic, including a detailed list of suppressed inventions which greatly improve gasoline mileage reported over the years in respected magazines, click here.
Troy, Mich., in the belly of the automobile industry, is an odd place to spark a revolution against the internal-combustion engine. But, then, Stanford Ovshinsky is no ordinary gearhead. Although he never went to college, he founded a new field of physics based on the superconductivity of certain alloys. The company he formed in 1960, Energy Conversion Devices, makes the photovoltaic cells used on the Mir space station to generate electricity from sunlight. In the '80s the Japanese licensed his patents to produce digital video discs. But what really revs him up these days is a car battery. How dull is that? Not at all, if it can "change the world," as he claims with a subversive glint in his eye. When Ovshinsky talked of scaling up his battery to run a car, he was ridiculed. "The auto companies said it wouldn't work," he recalls. "Then, after one car got 200 miles on a single charge, they said it couldn't be manufactured. Now that we are making them, they say it is too costly. But that is a red herring too." Ovshinsky's team of engineers and electrochemists has slashed the cost 40% in two years, they claim. If automakers would commit to buying tens of thousands, Ovshinsky says, the batteries would make electric cars as cheap as gasoline models.
Note: Ovshinsky, who has over 200 patents to his name, was censured for publicizing his amazing battery. GM refused to use his superior battery in the GM's EV-1 when it first came out. The inferior battery they used instead ensured the car would not be successful. Once Ovshinsky's battery became even more effective and looked sure to overtake conventional gasoline as the more effective way to run a car, his company was then sold by GM to Chevron Texaco, who shelved the project entirely. To see a three-minute clip from the excellent movie "Who Killed the Electric Car" on this, click here. For more on this remarkable man, click here.
The invention described herein was made in the course of, or under, a contract with the U. S. ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION. It relates ... to a method and apparatus for drilling, tunneling and shaft-sinking in rock with particular advantage at hitherto inaccessible depths. The present invention uses the basic apparatus and method disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,357,505 and in Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory of the University of California Report No. LA-3243 (1965) entitled "Rock Melting as a Drilling Technique." In the existing rock melting devices of the prior art, a major difficulty which limited performance was that of delivering a sufficiently large heat flux to the melting face of the drill or penetrator. The development of the heat pipe alleviates this problem in that the use of heat pipes enables the transfer of heat energy from a compact heat source to the extended melting surface of the penetrator at rates high enough to maintain the surface above the melting temperature of the rock. The extrapolation of a mechanism useful for forming large holes in the earth in accordance with the present invention uses the combination of a refractory rock-melting tool, an in situ heat source preferably a small nuclear reactor and an exceedingly efficient heat transfer mechanism such as a system of heat pipes to convey heat from the source to the walls of the drilling tool.
Note: This patent shows that government scientists at Los Alamos were using a "small nuclear reactor" to drill underground tunnels. Several of the inventors listed on the patent worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory, including: McInteer, Berthus B.; Mills, Robert L.; Potter, Robert M.; Robinson, Eugene S.; Rowley, John C.; and Smith, Morton C.. For photos and more fascinating information on this most intriguing patent, click here.
Lockheed Martin has reportedly been working on a revolutionary new type of reactor that can power anything from cities to aircraft carriers. The Maryland-based defense contractor recently received a patent for the compact fusion reactor (CFR) after filing plans for the device in 2014. According to reports, one generator would be as small as a shipping container but produce the energy to power 80,000 homes or one of the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class carriers. Lockheed’s advanced projects division, Skunk Works, has reportedly been working on the futuristic power source since 2014 and claimed at the time that a CFR could be ready for production by 2019. “I started looking at all the ideas that had been published. I basically took those ideas and melded them into something new by taking the problems in one and trying to replace them with the benefits of others,” Dr. Thomas McGuire of Skunk Works said during a 2014 interview. “The nice thing about a fusion reaction is that if somehow it would go out of control, it would just stop itself automatically,” William & Mary’s Saskia Mordijck told Phys.org in 2012. “If a fission reaction goes out of control, it can really go out of control. You can’t stop it and it actually might go into a nuclear meltdown.” Lockheed advertises its quest to develop fusion power on its website, calling the technology “a cleaner, safer source of energy” that could be used to power communities or even travel to Mars.
Note: A 2004 New York Times article stated that Lockheed Martin runs a "breathtakingly big part" of the US. This company's "Skunk Works" was kept very secret until 2014, when reporters were given a glossy brochure featuring a "10-point "Skunk Works 2015" agenda". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing energy invention news articles from reliable major media sources.
Every two years, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), America’s official source for energy statistics, issues 10-year projections about how much solar, wind and conventional energy the future holds for the US. Every two years, since the mid-1990s, the EIA’s projections turn out to be wrong. Last year, they proved spectacularly wrong. The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, and Statista recently teamed up to analyze the EIA’s predictions for energy usage and production. They found that the EIA’s 10-year estimates between 2006 to 2016 systematically understated the share of wind, solar and gas. Solar capacity, in particular, was a whopping 4,813% [or 48 times] more in 2016 than the EIA had predicted in 2006 it would be. The EIA regularly underestimates the growth in renewables but overestimates US fossil-fuel consumption. These estimates matter because they form the basis for actions by the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies. The agency’s “projections bear little resemblance to market realities” because they ignore publicly available evidence, argues the clean-energy non-profit Advanced Energy Economy. Michael Grunwald at Politico reports the EIA seems to base its projections on the assumption that renewable energy costs won’t fall much, when in fact they keep plunging.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Engineers have developed a turbine which has the potential to power a small town all the while being no bigger than your office desk. Designed by GE Global Research, the turbine could power 10,000 homes and according to researchers, could help to solve some of the world's growing energy challenges. But rather than steam, which is typically used to set turbines in motion, the new turbine uses carbon dioxide. 'This compact machine will allow us to do amazing things,' said Doug Hofer, lead engineer on the project. According to MIT Tech Review, the turbine is driven by 'supercritical carbon dioxide', which is kept under high pressure at temperatures of 700˚C. Under these conditions, the carbon dioxide enters a physical state between a gas and a liquid, enabling the turbine to harness its energy for super-efficient power generation - with the turbines transferring 50 per cent of the heat into electricity. It could help energy firms take waste gas and repurpose it for efficient and cleaner energy production. Waste heat produced from other power generation methods, such as solar or nuclear, could be used to melt salts, with the molten salts used to the carbon dioxide gas to a super-critical liquid - which may be much quicker than heating water for steam. Currently, the design of the turbine would enable up to 10,000 kilowatts of energy to be produced, but the turbines could be scaled up to generate 500 megawatts, enough to power a city.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Do you think a 13-year-old could change the world? Max Loughan could be the one to do it. When we interviewed him, Max was wearing his lab coat ... in his parent's old boiler room, which has been converted into a lab. He ponders the future often. "The future that I imagine is the future, frankly we all imagine." He wants to make the world a better place, and to do that, Max believes you need one single thing: "If you got energy, you have power, you have everything." So to solve this problem, a few months ago, Max took the matter into his own hands. He created an electromagnetic harvester out of a coffee can, some wire, two coils, and a spoon. "This cost me 14 bucks," Max said. The harvester conducts radio waves, thermal, and static energy, and turns it into electricity. "This wire takes energy from the air." And the inside the coffee can, "We turn it from AC to DC." We took the device outside, and wrapped Max's twin brother, Jack, in a string of L.E.D. lights. Max connects the lights to the harvester, and sure enough, they turned on. His device clearly works. A $14.00 invention was able to do that. So imagine this same harvester on a scale 20 times larger. "As cheesy as this sounds, from day one, on this planet that I knew I was put here for a reason," said Max. "And that reason is to invent, to bring the future."
Note: Don't miss this video of the most amazing 13-year-old who just may have solved the energy problems of our world!!! For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing new energy technology news articles from reliable major media sources.
Sports cars may not have the best reputation for being environmentally-friendly, but this sleek machine has been designed to reach 217.5 mph (350 km/h) – using nothing but saltwater. Its radical drive system allows the 5,070lbs (2,300kg) Quant e-Sportlimousine to reach 0-60 mph (100 km/h) in 2.8 seconds, making it as fast as the McLaren P1. After making its debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show in March, the saltwater technology has now been certified for use on European roads. The 920 horsepower (680 kW) Quant e-Sportlimousine uses something known as an electrolyte flow cell power system to power four electric motors within the car. It works in a similar way to a hydrogen fuel cell, however, the liquid used for storing energy is saltwater. The liquid passes through a membrane in between the two tanks, creating an electric charge. This electricity is then stored and distributed by super capacitors. The car carries the water in two 200-litre tanks, which in one sitting will allow drivers to travel up to 373 miles (600km). NanoFlowcell AG, a Lichtenstein-based company behind the drive, is now planning to test the car on public roads in Germany and elsewhere in Europe as the company prepares for series production. It claims the technology offers five times the energy capacity of lithium-ion batteries of the same weight. 'We've got major plans, and not just within the automobile industry,' says NanoFlowcell AG Chairman of the Board Professor Jens-Peter Ellermann. 'The potential of the NanoFlowcell is much greater, especially in terms of domestic energy supplies as well as in maritime, rail and aviation technology.'
Note: See the link above for photos and videos of this sleek masterpiece. Why isn't this car and it's unique technology getting more press? For more on this amazing car, see its website and read a gizmag article with more on how the car has received approval to run on European roads. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Tesla Motors Inc.’s electric Model S, Motor Trend’s 2013 “Car of the Year,” received the highest rating from Consumer Reports in an evaluation of the luxury sedan that led first-quarter North American plug-in car sales. The Model S from Palo Alto, California-based Tesla scored 99 out of 100 points, the non-profit magazine said in an e-mailed statement. The $89,650 car bought by Consumer Reports “performed better, or just as well overall” as any vehicle it’s ever tested, the ... magazine said. “It accelerates, handles and brakes like a sports car, it has the ride and quietness of a luxury car and is far more energy efficient than the best hybrid cars,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing. No rechargeable car has won a score as high as the Model S. The magazine last gave a vehicle 99 points in 2007, when Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus LS460L ranked that high. Model S shortcomings include limited range, long charge times and “coupe-like styling that impairs rear visibility and impedes access,” Consumer Reports said. Along with reliability that isn’t yet determined, Tesla still has a limited service network, the magazine said. The test vehicle had an 85-kilowatt/hour lithium-ion battery pack and averaged about 200 miles (322 kilometers) per charge in real-world driving, the magazine said. The Tesla “is easily the most practical electric car that has been tested to date,” Consumer Reports said.
Note: After undeniable suppression of the electric car by car manufacturers, independent upstart Tesla Motors has done it! Expect to see more breakthroughs from this great new company. For more on the company's amazing namesake and how his inventions were suppressed, click here.
In the new crop of electric cars, the Rav4 may be the best you've never heard of. It comes from one of the world's largest automakers and sports a drivetrain built by Tesla Motors, rock star of the plug-in world. And yet, outside the circle of electric enthusiasts, few drivers know it exists. You can buy it only in California. Toyota doesn't advertise it on TV. So far, the company has committed to building just 2,600. Critics, including some people who love the Rav4 EV, say Toyota made it only to comply with California regulations that force automakers to sell zero-pollution cars. "Everyone agrees it's a wonderful car," said Felix Kramer, founder of CalCars, a plug-in vehicle advocacy group. "Too bad there's not enough." That suspicion comes from experience. Toyota made an electric version of the Rav4 once before, building 1,484 of the small SUVs between 1997 and 2003. Then the company killed the program, after California changed its zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) rules. The new Rav4 EV ... boasts ferocious acceleration, plenty of power and a low center of gravity thanks to the big battery pack hidden in the floor. It's not a luxury car, but the interior is comfortable and plush, tricked out with a touch-screen and heated seats. Those so inclined can take the Rav4 EV from a standstill to 60 mph in 7 seconds. The car gets a solid 125 miles on a fully charged battery pack, and an easy-to-read number on the dash constantly reminds you how many miles you have left.
Note: Once again a major car manufacturer produces a great electric vehicle only to suppress it. Remember "Who Killed the Electric Car", the movie on GM's EV1 which was killed despite major consumer interest? Then there was Toyota's 100 mpg Eco Spirit which was also killed. For lots more reliable information on this suggesting industry suppression of energy breakthroughs, click here.
Right now, renewable energy sources like solar and wind still provide just a small fraction of the world’s electricity. But they’re growing fast. Solar is growing exponentially. Across the globe, 55 terawatt-hours of solar power had been installed by the end of 2011. That may not seem like much in itself — the United States by itself, after all, needed about one hundred times that much power in 2011. But solar has been growing at a stunning rate, as panels keep getting dramatically cheaper. If these exponential growth rates [continue] solar could provide nearly 10 percent of the world’s electricity by 2018. Official agencies keep underestimating the growth rate of renewables. The International Energy Agency is forecasting that solar will catch on much more slowly — providing a mere 4.5 percent of the world’s electricity by 2035. But [t]he IEA has almost always underestimated how quickly wind and solar can grow. Forecasters have consistently been too pessimistic. For instance, back in 2000, the IEA’s World Energy Outlook predicted that non-hydro sources of renewable energy would make up 3 percent of global energy by the year 2020. The world reached that point in 2008, well ahead of schedule. Using only current technology, renewables could technically provide the vast bulk of U.S. electricity by mid-century.
Note: The media has consistently underplayed the promising potential for alternative energy sources. The fact that the above is a blog and not a regular article in the Post is yet another example of this. For more on promising developments on energy technologies, click here.
The current surge in gas prices has almost nothing to do with energy policy. It doesn't even have much to do with global supply and demand. It has most to do with America's continuing failure to adequately regulate Wall Street. Oil supplies aren't being squeezed. Over 80 percent of America's energy needs are now being satisfied by domestic supplies. In fact, we're starting to become an energy exporter. Demand for oil isn't rising. Oil demand in the U.S. is down compared to last year at this time. The American economy is showing only the faintest signs of recovery. Meanwhile, global demand is still moderate. Europe's debt crisis hasn't gone away. China's growth continues to slow. But Wall Street is betting on higher oil prices. Hedge-fund managers and traders assume that mounting tensions in the Middle East will hobble supplies later this year. Wall Street speculators also assume global demand for oil will rise in the coming year. These are just expectations, not today's realities. But they're pushing up oil prices just the same, because Wall Street firms and other big financial players now dominate oil trading. Where there's money to be made, Wall Street will find a way of making it. And when it comes to oil, so much money is at stake that gigantic sums can be made if the bets pay off. Speculators figure they can hedge against bad bets. Financial speculators historically accounted for about 30 percent of oil contracts, producers and end users for about 70 percent. But today speculators account for 64 percent of all contracts.
Note: This article was written by Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future. He blogs at www.robertreich.org. For lots more reliable information from the major media on energy manipulations, click here.
[Video transcript] Narrator: While the world is drastically dependent on fossil fuel, researchers at NASA Langley Research Center are working on another way of producing energy-efficient nuclear power. Senior Resarch Scientist Dr Zawodny: This other form of nuclear power releases energy by adding neutrons. Eventually [the nuclei] gain a sufficient number of neutrons that they spontaneously decay into something of the same mass but a different element. It has the demonstrated ability to produce excess amounts of energy, cleanly, without hazardous ionizing radiation, without producing nasty waste. Narrator: This clean form of energy is ... able to support everything from transportation systems to infrastructure. Dr. Zawodny: The easiest implementation of this would be for the home. It would be ... dual use. It would [produce] heat; and you’d derive electricity from it to run your electronics, power the house, power the building, power the light industry. And then the waste heat would be used for environmental control [i.e. heating, air conditioning, etc.] and warm water.” Narrator: NASA’s method for enhancement of surface plasmon polaritons to initiate and sustain LENR in Metal Hydride Systems, a clean nuclear energy for your power-operated technology.
Note: LENR stands for Low Energy Nuclear Reactions, aka cold fusion. So NASA is now acknowledging cold fusion is real! And their research provides major hope for the future. To see Dr. Zawodny's patent for this revolutionary technology, click here. For more on NASA's involvement in this, click here. For lots more reliable information on the suppression of cold fusion/LENR by the media and the scientific mainstream, click here. For more inspiring news on amazing new energy inventions, click here.
The big number is 50. When companies can produce solar photovoltaic modules for less than 50˘ per watt, solar energy will be able to compete directly with coal. Right now, the cheapest solar cells are being produced for as little as 70˘ per watt. They are selling for about $1.26 per watt, with prices expected to drop to $1.17 next year. Most anticipate they they will hit 50˘ per watt within four or five years. As prices fall, demand is growing. Total solar installations in the second quarter [of 2011] grew by 69 percent over the same period in 2010. The number of Americans working in the solar industry more than doubled, to 100,000, from 2009 to 2011. That’s considerably more than the 80,600 coal miners working in the U.S. Behind the price drops are cheaper manufacturing costs, lower costs for such crucial raw materials as silicon, and rapidly improving technology. Dozens of startups in the U.S. have potentially transformative ideas. The question is which can come out on top. The wide variety of companies developing competing technologies to capture and distribute solar power underscores the market’s immaturity. Currently, researchers are experimenting with materials ranging from silicon to gallium arsenide to cadmium telluride, basing cost projections on disparate technologies that create solar cells. The goal is to build one that competes without government subsidies.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on developments in alternative energy technologies, click here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.