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March 10, 2007



Seems like there is plenty of room for PV prices to drop and for production to go through the roof. I still think PV has a potential unmatched by other energy options - the potential to be very cheap and massively mass producable. The well of innovation in this area has not reached it's peak, let alone look like running dry. Sliver cells are another very promising new technology, utilizing the established reliability of Silicon but making it go an order of magnitude further. CIGS is getting close to commercialization - Nanosolar's nanoparticle inks and roll printing could see the solar market change quite dramatically. There are others, but across the board the funding is still relatively small. I'd be surprised if worldwide R&D spending on PV is as much as gets spent on Oil exploration and it ought to be much more.


I like it, but I the the wide range of projects is kind of scary.

Doesn't it say there isn't a clear leader right now?

The DOE might still be trolling widely for a contender.

Michael Gross

Excellent news! Although I hope private industry continues development and production as well. Individuals can signup to show their support for the concept and reap rewards of solar power at the following link.

Thomas Foreman

Japan and Germany are very good examples of PV solar use. Oil is not easy to come by in these parts of the world. It's getting harder to come by in this part as well. (PEAK OIL) I think they created a great solution to their energy needs. I'm glad we are looking into such options as well. We can do much more then we do now. We can be positive examples of solar use to the world.Our children can grow up having much of their energy needs met by the SUN.
I pledge to Contribute clean solar energy to the grid. I'm the change I want to see in the world. I'm asking if you will be part of the CLEAN ENERGY SOLUTION? There are great choices here available to use now! Do we have to wait for neccessity and crisis to dictate our actions? My hope is that we could use our gifts of forsight.
Thomas Foreman


Thanks for the post Mr. Foreman. I must concur with your post. After seeing some of the comments about the alternative energy dabate with people bashing each other, it made me wonder, why the hostilities. We are all in this together and hopefully amicable solutions, diverse as they inherently may be, will be put into to play.
I am only a lowly electron microscopist and green farmer. It pains me to see posts where people put their energies into arguments and not solutions. From what I've gleened off this sight, the majority of posters seem to have a an understanding of energy resources and alternatives. I feel compelled to learn as much as possible as I feel responsible for what happens tomorrow, however small that may be. In the final analysis it is extremely difficult with the rants and raves.
I respect what is being brought forth, albeit, some of the wasted mental energy I've experienced here would without a doubt be enough to power my house.

Thomas Foreman

Thanks for reading my post. You have a very empowering and encouraging tone in your writing. I know this must serve you and people close to you well in life and in farming. Jeffs will have a great crop this year.
I feel lucky to have people share their views with me even if they are not the same as mine. I know we each have great knowledge and ideas to share. The Energy blog is a great sight to do it on.
Thomas Foreman

Kit P.

Solar can never be a low cost, have low environmental impact, or provide a significant source of electricity. It is about making electricity not installing capacity. Using a diffuse source of energy requires large amount of material and an army of maintenance workers.

Siting of solar panels should be based on the best return by matching a good resource to an exceptional demand supplied by the dirtiest power supplies.

To capture solar energy to warm by house and keep it cooler in the summer requires low e glass and properly designed overhangs and windows. To make electricity requires a huge investment in materials and maintenance.

Thomas Foreman

Going solar is a more economical and Eco friendly choice. I know for certain you can rent a solar system that takes care of your energy needs and I'm able to freeze my rental cost for 1,5 or 25 years at current cost from my power company.This can be done in any state of the USA that allows for NET Metering. KIT, P Will your power company freeze your rates for 25 years? I project energy prices will go up more at a compounded rate of 2 and one half percent increase per year average. It makes CENTS to lock in the cost for as long as you can
There are huge saving to be had by renting solar and not having to deal with the maitnence of it. Electricity is one of the larges causes of pollution on earth.
I want my children to breath clean air.
Harness an unlimited renuable supply of Sun.
Energy independence NOW.
Thomas Foreman

Kit P.

Thomas, I am not sure what your scam is but I am not buying it. My children already breath clean air and I see no reason to cut down my shade tree to make electricity. My local power company does an excellent job of providing energy at a reasonable cost.


Kit, I do believe Thomas has the mind set of self service, to which some of us prescribe. If we as an independant unit can provide for ourselves and take some stress off the grid and down size our footprint, why not? I'm under the impression that there are ways of fitting and positioning pvs without deforestration. I also believe , hopefully not in the too distant future, wind power will become a viable option for Joe Schmoe. Until then, we tend to make do with what we have and develop and nurture what our soul dictates to us. Believe it or not, there are those of us who live life without an " angle " and truly believe we are Stewards and take that responsibilty seriously.

Kit P.

Jeffs, my intention is not to denigrate solar PV so I will not provide my long list of why you should not put solar panels on your roof if your goal is to be a steward of the environment. I have yet to see the business model for solar PV on the roof's of individual homes that will make a profit. It is an economy of scale thing. Maybe Thomas has developed a business model that makes money based on regulations regardless of the solar potential. If someone talks like a con artist, let the renter beware.

I nurture my soul with big shade trees around my house and use the leaves for compost. This a huge ghg reduction strategy too. When lived in California, the fire danger precluded shade trees near the house. I used passive and solar hot water (not on the roof).

For those who have a mindset that installing a big (very expensive) electronic device on the roof to power their big TV, is the route to oneness with nature; please feel free to choose your own path.


i'm not that strong a partisan on the solar-vs-efficiency front, but i do lean toward efficiency myself.

i mean, when i've got a couple computers, with 20"widescreen LCDs, and a 32" widescreen TV, along with the "usual" appliances ... and a $12 electic bill ... i sort of wonder about the multi-thousand dollar rooftop systems.

with a cost of $12/mo how long does it take for me to pay back a $20K investment?

(i know that's unfair but it is also telling that the big solar providers do not have a package system as small as i need. why is that? is it because solar sales really do go with high consumption?)

... ok, that did come across as more forceful than i expected, but please take it as good natured banter.

Thomas Foreman

A twelve-dollar electric bill, you do a great job with efficacy. I have two kids and one on the way. My energy bills are a lot more. You have ability to tred on this earth much lighter then I do. I want to harness the sun so as to help me tred lightly as well.
A way to get a smaller system is to rent and have a design that accommodates your electrical needs. The system is maintained and there is no huge investment made on your part + I can lock the yearly average rate I pay today for1, 5 or 25 years. I think cost of power will go up in a big way in the next 25 years. What do you think?
The reason solar only accounts for less then one half of one % in residential use is because it has always been cost prohibitive and maintenance extensive. These are some of the fears I think people have. Now those barriers to entry are gone. I think solar will start to see a huge resurgence. It’s still in the first adaptors stage. When it gets going the tipping point will have huge momentum and truly be a positive change in the way we harness energy. I like the possibilities of it ecologically and economically.
Thank you for this discussion it has really helped me to learn how to articulate my mission.
THESUNSHARVEST A GOOD OPTION not the only option but a good one.
Thomas Foreman

Harvey D.

Mr. Foreman:

Sunlight is by far the greatest source of clean power available to the human race.

However, since current converters such as PVs + energy storage units (ESU) are (still) not very effective and too costly, application is not yet economical.

With more R & D, efficiency will come up and cost down enough to make affordable 25 Kwh to 50 Kwh home power supplies a reality within 5 to 10 years.

The 10 Kwh to 20 Kwh required daily, for the family car, could be supplied by the home power system. The 50 Kwh onboard (car) storage unit could complement the home storage unit when required.

Don't give up, it is coming.

The worst thing would be to switch from oil to coal as too many want to do.


Interesting article and comments. If we can get the $20k cost of a system down to $5k there will be a mad rush to SolarCity. My $200-$300/mth electric bill used to be $75-$150 just 5 years ago. What will it be in the next 5 years?

On the other hand, most of these thin-film companies have plans to integrate the solar cell into glass that will go into tall commercial buildings. Cutting down shade trees won't be a concern in that application.

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I like the idea when JFK said we're going to the moon in 10 years. We should have the same idea that everyone will be driving alternative energy in 10 years. It would help to restore America.

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It is nice that DOE selected 13 projects for the development of solar technology.

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I like the idea when JFK said we're going to the moon in 10 years. We should have the same idea that everyone will be driving







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Great!This article is creative,there are a lot of new idea,it gives me inspiration.I think I will also inspired by you and think about more new ideas

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Yeah, you're right.*

Adam Mack

It took me a long time to read the comments..:)
Solar technology is really the way now. This is to cut costs and help save the environment. I have read a lot of solar energy information and Im happy to know that a lot of people are making this move.


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