Welcome to the Energy Blog

  • The Energy Blog is where all topics relating to The Energy Revolution are presented. Increasingly, expensive oil, coal and global warming are causing an energy revolution by requiring fossil fuels to be supplemented by alternative energy sources and by requiring changes in lifestyle. Please contact me with your comments and questions. Further Information about me can be found HERE.



After Gutenberg

Clean Break

The Oil Drum


Blog powered by Typepad

« FPL, PG&E and Ausra Commit to Develop 1,500 MW of Solar Power | Main | The latest on the Volt »

September 29, 2007



Would this stuff be applicable for automotive? The high cost of generating electricty from liquid fueled engines, for HEV, or PHEV vehicles would be a good match for supplimentation with some sort of PV


bigTom wrote: The high cost of generating electricty from liquid fueled engines, for HEV, or PHEV vehicles would be a good match for supplimentation with some sort of PV power.

A $500 low-emission (LEV-rated) gasoline-powered engine (e.g. the current base-model Toyota Corolla engine) can produce ~100-kilowatts of power. How much would a 100-kilowatt solar panel on the roof of a car cost? Please show your math.

Carl Hage

In theory, the Miasole PV films could be deposited on car roofs, etc., but it wouldn't provide much area, so not enough charge unless you only drive a couple of miles (then you may as well walk).

However, a solar carport of 3x5 meters would generate enough electricity on average to power an electric car. (Assuming 15% efficiency, 15,000/yr miles and about .2kWh/mi).

The hope is that the new technology will be so cheap that it would be cost effective even for flat roofs or slopes not optimally aligned. Supposedly, PV panels could produce electricity cheaper than alternatives even without subsidies. However, installation costs now represent a large portion of the PV electric costs (about half), so these costs need to come down as well.


Nucbuddy, it is assumed that PV is mainly for charging while parked in the sun. Allowing for a few milesper day before needing to start burning gas. The stuff has to be pretty cheap to make the modest improvement in average usage miles/gallon worth it. It would need to be the automotive equivalent of building integrated photovoltaics, i.e.
an integral part of the roof/hood, installation costs as an aftermarket product would be too great.

technofossil numbers seem roughly in the ballpark, you may get a mile or two per hour of sunlight. Presumably these vehicles would usually be plugged in at night, so these miles would be used in the return commute.


Just imagine everybody fighting over the sunny spots in the parking lot and hoping somebody in a big van doesn't shade his 2 miles worth to get back home.
Hey lady, your shading my panels!


Interesting article. Because I work at HelioVolt, I am hoping that we will be first to market. However, I am always pleased to see when thin-film CIGS advances. I think the competition is healthy and there will be enough market share for everyone that is currently pursuing that path. Getting to market quickly will be critical though because once the model is proven, all of the big boys will come flooding in. The current players need to capitalize, monetize and lock the market down quickly.


First CIGS to market? Seems to me Honda's already done it. They've been selling CIGS modules since June, according to


Honda links both say "starting this fall" and Honda has not announced they are shipping yet, to my knowledge. They may be a close second though.
This CIGS product will likely be cheaper to produce than Si PV. They should not have a problem with profitable sales. BIPV will be important to bring down installation costs and remain competitive in the longer term.


I interpreted that to say that they are shipping limited production now and will ramp up to full production in the fall. If they weren't shipping, I would have thought the articles would say they were "taking orders for" the modules rather than saying they were actually selling them through distributors. But maybe something was lost in translation.

Dr. Livsy

It's nice article! Thanks, good info!


Well, whether or not we can verify if Honda has started shipping thin film PV panels, Nanosolar has!
And they claim they can sell panels profitably at $0.99/W


I think they're CIGS

Cyril R.

Heh. Their panel # 2 has a $ 12,500 bid at this moment! Not quite buck-a-Watt. Let's hope the real product won't sell for the price of this collectable charity panel :)

It looks like your spam filter isn't working very well Jim.


Jim Fraser:
These "advertising posts" can be real blog killers.

I assume you are working on some sort of filter/editor to address the issue?


The Venture Beat article says:
Miasolé is one of a handful of players producing solar technology based on CIGS materials. These companies, which include Nanosolar, HelioVolt and Konarka (and Honda) are all racing to be first to market.

Now I find out that Global Solar Energy has been producing CIGS cells since 2004, over 3 years ago.

Were all these mentioned companies racing to be second to market?

The comments to this entry are closed.

. .

Batteries/Hybrid Vehicles