Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Never Enough Solar Goodness Department

You probably have seen reports of wearable solar cells, which will make gadget fantatics happy with mobile recharability. It's a step in the right direction, to be sure, but for those with memories of large black panels, it isn't necessarily inspirational. Enter PowerGlass, a sticky, transparent window film that turns any window into a solar panel. Being transparent, they aren't as efficient as slabs of dark silicon--but the film is much cheaper than silicon solar cells, and so should generate a lot more power for the buck.

That's nice for us Westerners, but what about the third-world, where modern solar cell films and old-generation silicon cells alike are cost-prohibitive? How do paper solar cells grab you? While I would not expect much efficiency out of these, the cost should be so low that it won't matter much. Cell phones--already preferred in the Third World for not requiring expensive phone lines or switching stations--could be charged easily with such technology.

Those who said solar was too primitive, or too much a niche technology, obviously didn't realize how different the world would be in a few decades. GO SOLAR!


Chriss Pagani said...

Well, you know what they say - until they figure out a way to put a meter on the sun...

Of course, I figured out one way to do that: You could put a meter on solar panels and charge based on energy produced. In this model, you'd give away the solar panels and make your money back on the charges...which could be way lower than a regular electric company.

It's just a thought. I'm a freak who makes art, not an inventor.

Popess Lilith said...

That'd be sublime, if enough energy companies figure it out. The biggest problem with solar panels is that it isn't terribly efficient at converting light to electricity, although that's certainly changing.