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February 20, 2006

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radicimo

I believe SunPower is achieving greater than 20% efficiency in practice, and significantly more in the laboratory.

Jim from The Energy Blog

A reader sent me this link to the South African edition of Popular Mechanics which gives more background on the South African project. He also pointed out that Professor Vivian Alberts is a he, not a she, and I changed that reference in the first line of the post.

Yes SunPower silicon cells have an efficiency of 20-21% and their panels have an efficiency of 17%. I don't know anything about their pricing, they are ramping up production and producing in the Philipines which should bring their prices down, but they are still dependent on using silicon.

Halvo

Anyone know how Prof Alberts CIGS technology is any different from Daystar Tech's CIGS?

JesseJenkins

"Prices this low are for large multi-MW installations, not for household installations, so that is another factor to consider."

Yes, you but also ought to consider that household installations have to compete against retail electricity rates, not wholesale rates like large multi-MW central PV stations do. Retail rates are about 7-8 cents/kWh while wholesale rates are more like 5 cents/kWh so you hit a competitive price for household installations far before you hit it for industrial-scale installations.

In my opinion, the strength of PVs lies in their ability to be deployed in a distributed fashion. Why try to go for central plants when you can simply put them on rooftops. There's an awful lot of wasted rooftop space out there in urban areas. Why go ahead and install these central plants elsewhere? Even desert's support ecosystems that ought to be preserved if we have the option to install PVs in existing urban areas instead.

Jim from The Energy Blog

Jessie you are right in that retail electric rates are much higher than the wholesale rates, but it isn't that simple. Simplifing the case to one where the unit capital costs were the same we have a large difference in how the capital costs are treated. Since there is no fuel cost and minimal O&M costs, the only significant factor is the installed cost. The utility will amortize the cost over a long period, usually 20 years, while very few homeowners are willing to do that. They want a electrical source that will pay for itself in cost savings in 5 years, a few will consider 10 years. Ignoring interest that would double or quadruple the cost of electricity for the homeowner. In fact the homeowner may have to pay 30 to 50% more for the installed panel because of the large discounts a utility can get and the lower cost of installation the utility gets because of the scale of its installations. My back of the envelope calculation says that with a 7.5% carrying charge for the utility, a 30% higher capital cost for the homeowner with a 5 year payback results in the homeowner having about 3 times the cost of electricity as the utility has. To me that would be attractive for quite a few homeowners, so I claim that makes the required panel cost about the same for the two cases. I would be glad if anyone wants to make a more exact analysis to disprove or validate my analysis.

Nick

Jim, there are two key elements here: financing, and building integration.

Financing: If a homeowner can finance a PV with their mortgage, then we're talking 30 year amortization (whether it's a 30 year fixed mortgage or an ARM, it's likely to have 30 amortization). An installation with a net cost of $10,000 financed with a 6.5% mortgage would have a monthly cost of $63. If it saves them more than that in electricity, then the decision is easy.


Building Integration (BIPV): if the PV is part of the roof (rather than a panel plopped on top of it), then you get a two-for-one, as it provides the roof function as well as power. This also greatly reduces the cost of installation, as you would have roof installation cost in any case.

This works best for new construction, of course, but it can work for roof replacements as well. I would argue that this can make the cost of homeowner/commercial building installation lower than that for utilities. Add in the difference between wholesale and retail rates, and I would argue that decentralized installation is the logical direction to pursue for PV.

Thomas

Watch out for technologies that require solar tracking (E.g. any technology based on concentrating the light).

Unless you are willing to rotate the whole house, or maybe just the roof ;-), building integration is not an option with these types. They do not work will in cloudy weather either, as opposed standard PVs that produce power from diffuse sunlight as well.

This is where buildings, such as malls, with large flat roofs have a distinct advantage.

That said, the type mentioned in this post seems to be of the "standard" flat plate PV design.

Here in Denmark, retail prices of electricity are around 25-30 cents (US $) per kWh. Legislation is on the way that will let you sell excess power and only pay for the total power balance from the grid. (If you sell 3000 kWh and buy 5000 kWh, you would pay for 2000 kWh. Your savings would be $ 5-600).

-Thomas

Workman

We are Zimbabwean company in alternative power solutions. We are looking for a suplier of solar panels that will make it possible for urban and rural houses to become completely self-sufficient for energy supplies.

The panels should be able to generate enough energy to run stoves, geysers, lights, TVs, fridges, computers - in short all the mod-cons of the modern house.

ranbir sahni

we should consider the tax incentives and the latitude of the location as well in calculating break eve costs

Patrick Hickey

I am delighted to have stumbled across this blog because the South African solar energy breakthrough could make all the difference in the world! I've just been looking to find out if it really is feasible.

So far I haven't found any reason to believe it isn't, but I'm also not quite ready to invest several million dollars for rights and a manufacturing plant.

After reading the posts above, I realized that by the time we actually have these available, the price of energy could have doubled or more. Or we may be facing blackouts or at least brownouts.

CIGSSe could allow those of us who want off the grid to get off it. We also want to charge up our hybrid cars from solar power.

Considering the potential for electricity and/or oil disruptions has never been greater, the exact costs may be less important than getting the units manufactured and installed before peak oil proceeds too far in the down direction.

Believe me, here in Arizona we need reasonably priced solar power very much, indeed. Of course, who doesn't?

Also, we may not have the time to wait until some other more perfect solar product is developed. Some of us feel that whatever we manage to do now is a little late for a start, but now is better than never.

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Ray Boggs

Sounds interesting, but what is the life expectency of the product? It could cost 50 cents a watt, but if it only lasts 5 years what good is the technology when compared to silicon ?

Sarel Wagner

Have a look at the article on this website: Some technical extracts from the Patent by Prof. Vivian Alberts:

http://www.b100.co.za/

Page link http://www.b100.co.za/vivianalberts.html

Regards
Sarel

alan ward

at 50 cents over 18 to 20 years gives incentive does the cost come down per watt. when the cost per kilowatt is 35 cents or more or less to be competative more so evironmentally neutral,unlike others fossil fission

alan ward

APPARENTLY IFE HAS RIGHTS OVER THE TECHNOLOGY A GERMAN COMPANY AND IS BUILDING A PLANTS TO START PRODUCTION IN MID 2007 IT SHOULD BE FINISHED AND THAT THE PANELS WILL BE BLACK IN COLOR AND THAT IT WILL TAKE 20% MARKET SHARE AND THAT THEY ARE 16% EFFICIENT,THAT ITS UP TO THIS COMPANY TO DESTRIBUTE MARKET SHARE AS THEY OWN THE RIGHTS,TO DO AS THEY PLEASE IN THIS THIN FILM TECHNOLOGY,THIS IS WHEN THE WORLD WILL HAVE ONE WORKING SOLUTION SOLAR ONE MORE CHEAP ENOUGH VERSION TO DO AS PREDICTED.AND THE BLACK COLOUR WOULD BE IDEAL ON THE OUT SIDE OF A AIR VERHICAL AS IT WOULD NOT BE TO SHINNY AND COULD MAKE IT PERPETUAL WITH A EFFIENT NICKLE ALLOY BATTERY TO BE SELF CHARGING RUN AT 80 KM PER HOUR FOR 2000,MILES WITH PERAL RECHARGE ELECTRITY WOULD HAVE TO BE SELF RECHARGING OTHER WISE A POWER POITN NOT QUITE YOUR HYBRIDE BUT GOOD ENOUGH FOR GETTING ARROUND ANY WHERE NOT QUITE A FARRARAE WONT RELACE EVERYTHING MILITARALY COMBUSTION BUT GOOD ENOUGH TO RUN WITH OUT PETROL OR FOSSIL FUEL .

alan ward

these air cars are grid cars and self made electical micro,system and can be made cheap 14,000 australian dollars unlike other hybrides for the poor man of countries like Australia AND FAST HYDRIDES WILL SOLVE SOLUTION WORLD WITH SOLAR PANELS THIS EFFICIENT AT 16% CAN BE DONE,BEFORE TO LATE A COUNTRY LIKE NEW ZEALAND COULD SET A EXAMPLE

alan ward

these air cars are grid cars and self made electical micro,system and can be made cheap 14,000 australian dollars unlike other hybrides for the poor man of countries like Australia AND FAST HYDRIDES WILL SOLVE SOLUTION WORLD WITH SOLAR PANELS THIS EFFICIENT AT 16% CAN BE DONE,BEFORE TO LATE A COUNTRY LIKE NEW ZEALAND COULD SET A EXAMPLE

alan ward

the carbon tree to make emissions into a neutral state can be done by making hydrocarbons from carbon gas NEW SCIENTIST MAGAZINE. the carbon tree sequastion1000*DISCOVERER MAGAZINE by a single scientist doing research and doctor sorrels hydrogen tile titanium cataylist nsw university australia a spectrum device photo measuring device materials makes hydogen from any water source AND BACK TO WATER EVEN POLLUTED CAN MAKE A CARBON TREE CHEAP ENOUGH AND MAKE FUELS MATERIALS WHEN AND SAVE PLANET AND ALSO 70PERCENT SOLAR NITRATES COMBINED SPECTRUM ALAYSIS PHOTO MATERIALS AND QUANTUM DOTS MATERIALS TOO AND AUSTRALIAN REASURCH 30 * MORE SOLAR PANELS SHOULD FIND A SOLUTION AND BORON OR HYDROGEN BORON FUSION FOCUS FUSION SHOULD FIND A WAY FROM 7,000,000 TO A 60 MILLION IN 10 YEARS TO 120 IN 20 YEARS MUCH CHEAPER THAN CARBON SOLUTIONS THESE ARE REALVENT TO THE SOLAR SOUTH AFRICAN PANELS IN THAT THEY ARE SOLUTIONS AND COMPETITORS IN THE HIGHER RANGE AS THESE ARE 16 PERCENT EFFICIENT AND RUN AS CHEAP AND 24 VOLT SYSTEMS CAN BE BUILT FROM THESE A MANY TERE SYSTEM OF SOLUTIONS THAT MAKE MONEY.THE SCIETNTIST SHOULD WORK TOGETHER AS THEY ARE PHTO CATAYLIST DEVIVES AND TITANIA DEVICES RESPECTIVELY TO THE FOSIL FROM CARBON AND HYDROGEN TOO.

alan ward

these are solutions that could be cheap enough and power ful enough to do the job,and scare the bi jesus out of the fosil fuel industry in effiency and cost all though and make a lot of money to keep going although fusion alternatives have always been just around the corner the hydrogen boron recent reasearch will open up the direction needed for fusion how to and the toroid fusion project 8000,000,000 could run air craft and the military toriod weapon in 10 they are 80% percent likely to work and the first results will be here in 3 years hydrogen boron plasma focus but the solar solutions will find alest one as mentioned by me to set up the world and the cost will be mimmal one the cost of a traffic light the nitrate 70% in its spectrum and be a full spectrum device with full effiency others.

alan ward

algae can complete carbon cycle under ground and be converted to ethanol and feed sunlight by optic fibre,to illiminate space problems compltetely using a power stations carbon dioxide compltely.

alan ward

cost toriod fusion eight million not eight billion.

alan ward

effanol is neutral in emmisions and electrical verhicals can do the distance and milage and speed required to be combustion competitive and is the cleanest as othr fuels with out panels or internalized source terra form,earth with out not completing cycles.

alan ward

negating military fossil and strategic demography,and completely recycling it,and re kinda like refuel it,and place monies around else where.

alan ward

unclouded demography effiects clouds of conaminates

alan ward

nitrides and some other materials mixed solar material can hit the theoritical maxium of spectrum why dont they research this70%andwhy do eletric cars not be made with there maxium speed and mile large and be rechargable of road as a verhical it could compete with conbustibles and be effienct too this is atlest as good as hydrogen although new south wales hydrogen tile will produce enough and catalist titanium,to make the hydrogen needed and to catalise the carbon process too to oil and alge can do the same and land should be brought for this from coal oil stacks also the carbon tree calcinates the carbon from the air 1000* effective if it works and is cheap enough other solar materials in the high end can do 65% spectrum where as the material south african does 16% they are quantum dot materials why dont they get more monies about 7,000,000 each will get results,as combustibles are of road technologies for the military,thus they must have a civilion excuse fossil fuel too.

walid nassar

What is the best way to approach holders of technology for a manufacturing license and/or JV to produce solar grade silicon? A number of technologies are there, it seems carbothermic and electrolytic process are going to be there for sometime.

Ian Merrifield

Why is everyone going so big? Surely is is possible to ensure very low cost lighting using pv panels and LEDs?
We are a non profit company, using orphaned wild animals to educate children in the environment and also provide extra lessons in maths, english and science.
We were recenty donated some solar garden lamps. One was broken by accident, and in repairing it we came up with this idea:
Dissect the garden lamp by removing the solar pv panel and extending the connection with twin flex. Mount the panel on the roof of your house. Run the flex back to the unit and re-connect. Remove the stand (which throws a shadow). Locate the photo sentive switch, remove it, and replace it with a "pull string" switch. Mount the unit on the highest point of the roof, ensuring you can reach the "pull string" of the switch.
It doesn't give much light, but certainly sufficient to see where you are going at night! Dirt cheap! Perhaps someone can give me a supplier of pv plate in South Africa, LEDs, pull string switches etc...all the components and then the children can make them here, and maybe even sell them?

Banks Ndebele

We are a company in Botswana wishing to do business in alternative power solutions. We are looking for a suplier of solar panels that will make it possible for urban and rural houses to become completely self-sufficient for energy supplies.

The panels should be able to generate enough energy to run stoves, geysers, lights, TVs, fridges, computers - in short all the mod-cons of the modern house.

Banks Ndebele

We are Zimbabwean company in alternative power solutions. We are looking for a suplier of solar panels that will make it possible for urban and rural houses to become completely self-sufficient for energy supplies.

The panels should be able to generate enough energy to run stoves, geysers, lights, TVs, fridges, computers - in short all the mod-cons of the modern house.

Banks Ndebele

We are Zimbabwean company in alternative power solutions. We are looking for a suplier of solar panels that will make it possible for urban and rural houses to become completely self-sufficient for energy supplies.

The panels should be able to generate enough energy to run stoves, geysers, lights, TVs, fridges, computers - in short all the mod-cons of the modern house.

Brent Cornish

Please could you give us a litte info. We are an electrical company and have just got a job for a complex in the lowveld, Mpumalanga. They require the houses to run on 220 volt as well as 12 volt solar. Plus a generator. We are not very involved with the solar side but this produt could be the product need. We also need to run as many things as posible as they are trying to get the houses to be self saficient. Could you please give us som advice as wll as an average cost.

Many thanks
Brent

Debo Oladele

Need a reliable manufacturer out there who will want to partner with our organization to start production of PV cells or 'paints' in south western part of Nigeria.

Our study reveals a great potential.

Debo Oladele

Need a reliable manufacturer out there who will want to partner with our organization to start production of PV cells or 'paints' in south western part of Nigeria.

Our study reveals a great potential.

Nigerian Scam?

Debo: Should I just give you my account number or do you want me to wire you the money? Maybe even better, I put my money in a bag and leave it at the front door for you.

denis oluremi john-jolaosho

I RUN AN ENERGY COSULTING AND MARKETING FIRM, IN NIGERIA, AT THIS STAGE OF PHOTOVOLTAIC DEVELOPTMENT, EMPHASES SHOULD BE BASED ON RELIABILITY, PERFORMANCE, AND EFFICIENCY.
I WOULD ONLY MARKET THE SILICON SOLAR PANELS FOR NOW, EVEN THOUGH I COMMEND THE EFFORT OF MY SOUTH AFRICAN BROTHERS,, "AS THE SAYING TESTED IS TRUSTED"

Afolayan Emmanuel

Debo: Please let us have more information about your project. Thanks for early reply!

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ITS REALLY NICE POSTING...........

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South Africa contains some of the oldest archaeological sites in the world.Extensive fossil remains at the Sterkfontein, Kromdraai and Makapansgat caves suggest that various australopithecines existed in South Africa from about three million years ago.

These were succeeded by various species of Homo, including Homo habilis, Homo erectus and modern humans, Homo sapiens.

Settlements of Bantu-speaking peoples, who were iron-using agriculturists and herdsmen, were already present south of the Limpopo River by the fourth or fifth century CE. (see Bantu expansion). They displaced, conquered and absorbed the original Khoisan speakers. The Bantu slowly moved south. The earliest ironworks in modern-day KwaZulu-Natal Province are believed to date from around 1050. The southernmost group was the Xhosa people, whose language incorporates certain linguistic traits from the earlier KhoiSan people. The Xhhosa reached the Great Fish River, in today's Eastern Cape Province. As they migrated, these larger Iron Age populations displaced or assimilated earlier peoples, who often had hunter-gatherer societies.
In 1487, the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias became the first European to reach the southernmost point of Africa. Initially named the Cape of Storms, The King of Portugal, John II, renamed it the Cabo da Boa Esperança or Cape of Good Hope, as it led to the riches of India. Dias' great feat of navigation was later immortalised in Camões' epic Portuguese poem, The Lusiads (1572). In 1652, Jan van Riebeeck established a refreshment station at the Cape of Good Hope on behalf of the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch transported slaves from Indonesia, Madagascar, and India as labour for the colonists in Cape Town. As they expanded east, the Dutch settlers met the south-westerly expanding Xhosa people in the region of the Fish River. A series of wars, called the Cape Frontier Wars, ensued, mainly caused by conflicting land and livestock interests.

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