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Re: [hreg] Digest Number 137

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  • Kevin L. Conlin
    Good call Chuck, the high efficiency cells SunPower sells are about $75 for a cell the size of a postage stamp. They typically sell them to high end PV
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 9, 2001
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      Good call Chuck, the high efficiency cells SunPower sells are about $75 for
      a cell the size of a postage stamp. They typically sell them to high end PV
      racing teams where a 1 meter square array can cost hundreds of thousands of
      dollars or more, but it is the best crystalline silicon on the planet. They
      also use it on some satellites since the efficiency approaches that of
      Gallium Arsenide.

      I agree with you that this is another example of marketing hype designed to
      attract attention to the players, not the technology. If you multiply the
      efficiency of a PV array times the efficiency of electrolysis times the
      efficiency of the fuel cell you'll discover that we're a long way from
      solving the nations energy problems. I've heard the same hype over the
      years from a host of other "revolutionary" technologies, including the old
      Arco thin film silicon, the Westinghouse bifacial cells, CdTe and CuInSE
      thin films, Texas Instruments spheral solar cells, point contact
      concentrators, LEPCON (don't even remember what that stood for), organic
      solar cells, triple junction amorphous, and oh yeah, that nuclear stuff
      that would be too cheap to meter. We seem to have a national obsession with
      magic bullet solutions, and when solar is in the picture it makes for a good
      story, as people do have an intuitive friendliness toward solar. Problem is
      all of these technologies have substantial hurdles in front of them, and
      commercialization is usually a decade away. Creating these unrealistic
      expectations does the solar industry a lot more harm than good. Regards,
      Kevin Conlin

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Chuck Wright <chuck-wright@...>
      To: <hreg@egroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2001 4:41 AM
      Subject: Re: [hreg] Digest Number 137


      > hreg@egroups.com wrote:
      >
      > >
      > > Subject: The Network bit on PV Electrolysis:
      > >
      > > For those that did not catch it:
      > >
      > > http://www.abcnews.go.com/onair/WorldNewsSaturday/altpower010106.html
      > > Andrew H. McCalla
      >
      > Nice to have some coverage, but I fear that they have
      > hopelessly garbled the message. Very little about this
      > news piece makes sense. They have certainly overhyped
      > it, which could cause more harm than good.
      >
      > What I hear from it is a cube the size of a Rubik's Cube
      > that costs $200, and that it produces 200 watts. Hang
      > on there. Sunlight carries a maximum of 1000 watts per
      > square meter. Their cell claims 21 percent efficiency.
      > A 1 square meter panel could produce 210 watts in full
      > sunlight. Compare a square meter to a Rubik's Cube,
      > which is about 3 inches on a side. Illuminated on one
      > side, such a cube would produce only 1.2 watts. Perhaps
      > the cube goes in a concentrator? Then the concentrator
      > must intercept a square meter of sunlight, and you have
      > the mechanical complexity of that.
      >
      > Their cell technology looks very interesting, but their
      > web page makes it look like these are "high end" cells,
      > likely to be very expensive and difficult to manufacture.
      >
      > Don't get me wrong. This company seems to be
      > doing some nice work, and I applaud the work to
      > combine PV with an effective storage technology.
      > I personally think that PV/H2/Fuel cells will in the
      > long run be a dominant energy technology.
      >
      > --
      > Chuck Wright
      > http://www.chuck-wright.com
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • EXT-Mendell, Christopher N
      Kevin, I appreciate your calm and realistic insights into the nation s energy future and specific situations as the come up in the hreg chat-mail. I know
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 10, 2001
      • 0 Attachment
        Kevin,

        I appreciate your calm and realistic insights into the nation's energy
        future and specific situations as the come up in the "hreg" chat-mail. I
        know that you have been "walking the walk" for a long time. I think the
        concept of a "magic bullet" is rooted in our culture's proclivity for
        convenience. And I agree that the media sensationalism can do more to
        derail the integration of renewables into every day American life as opposed
        to keeping it on track. If there is a silver lining, it might be that at
        least the concept of renewable energy is kept up by these news items in the
        minds every day Americans. People like George Lucas, Gene Roddenberry,
        Arther C. Clarke and Carl Sagan whether one agreed with them or not did keep
        the idea of Space Exploration alive in the minds of US tax payers. I
        cuurntly work on the equivelant of HAL on the International Space Station,
        albeit a conglomeration of obsolete 386's! The media attention genereated
        by the above mentioned has indirectly helped me to make my living for the
        past 9 years and, more importantly, has provided me the oppotunity to
        contribute.

        I would like to share some recent thoughts on the matter our enregy future
        for your comments. What follows is an exerpt from a recent email to an
        associate:

        Tim

        Remember that I was talking about the idea of a solar cell that stored
        energy? Well I guess I was just "tuning" into the network???.... See URL!
        Unfortunately, not much info here but if it's real there is a chance we'll
        see more about it later(if it's not mysteriously evaporated). (Now, As I
        step up to my soap box)... The successful future in this country of
        renewable energy will lie in its ability to "plug in" to the existing
        infrastructure.

        Perhaps in as few as 20 years there could be a shift in infrastructure that
        favors renewables if conventional energy supplies become prohibitively
        expensive and renewables become cheap to produce but not easily integrated
        into the existing infrastructure. That could justify the expense of massive
        retooling. There seems to be an intrinsic inertia in the realm of humans
        and technological development. e.g. The width of railroad tracks traces
        back to Ancient Roman highway engineers and the width of chariot wheels.
        Consider the corporate phenomena of the longevity of dubious management
        decisions - long out lasting the departure of the offending parties only to
        be weathered by those who follow. Viva the status quo, so to speak.

        But the more likely energy solution will stem from an inventiveness which
        will strive to satisfy the nation's preoccupation with convenience.

        Thanks,
        Chris Mendell


        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Kevin L. Conlin [SMTP:kconlin@...]
        > Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2001 1:26 PM
        > To: hreg@egroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [hreg] Digest Number 137
        >
        > Good call Chuck, the high efficiency cells SunPower sells are about $75
        > for
        > a cell the size of a postage stamp. They typically sell them to high end
        > PV
        > racing teams where a 1 meter square array can cost hundreds of thousands
        > of
        > dollars or more, but it is the best crystalline silicon on the planet.
        > They
        > also use it on some satellites since the efficiency approaches that of
        > Gallium Arsenide.
        >
        > I agree with you that this is another example of marketing hype designed
        > to
        > attract attention to the players, not the technology. If you multiply the
        > efficiency of a PV array times the efficiency of electrolysis times the
        > efficiency of the fuel cell you'll discover that we're a long way from
        > solving the nations energy problems. I've heard the same hype over the
        > years from a host of other "revolutionary" technologies, including the old
        > Arco thin film silicon, the Westinghouse bifacial cells, CdTe and CuInSE
        > thin films, Texas Instruments spheral solar cells, point contact
        > concentrators, LEPCON (don't even remember what that stood for), organic
        > solar cells, triple junction amorphous, and oh yeah, that nuclear stuff
        > that would be too cheap to meter. We seem to have a national obsession
        > with
        > magic bullet solutions, and when solar is in the picture it makes for a
        > good
        > story, as people do have an intuitive friendliness toward solar. Problem
        > is
        > all of these technologies have substantial hurdles in front of them, and
        > commercialization is usually a decade away. Creating these unrealistic
        > expectations does the solar industry a lot more harm than good. Regards,
        > Kevin Conlin
        >
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: Chuck Wright <chuck-wright@...>
        > To: <hreg@egroups.com>
        > Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2001 4:41 AM
        > Subject: Re: [hreg] Digest Number 137
        >
        >
        > > hreg@egroups.com wrote:
        > >
        > > >
        > > > Subject: The Network bit on PV Electrolysis:
        > > >
        > > > For those that did not catch it:
        > > >
        > > > http://www.abcnews.go.com/onair/WorldNewsSaturday/altpower010106.html
        > > > Andrew H. McCalla
        > >
        > > Nice to have some coverage, but I fear that they have
        > > hopelessly garbled the message. Very little about this
        > > news piece makes sense. They have certainly overhyped
        > > it, which could cause more harm than good.
        > >
        > > What I hear from it is a cube the size of a Rubik's Cube
        > > that costs $200, and that it produces 200 watts. Hang
        > > on there. Sunlight carries a maximum of 1000 watts per
        > > square meter. Their cell claims 21 percent efficiency.
        > > A 1 square meter panel could produce 210 watts in full
        > > sunlight. Compare a square meter to a Rubik's Cube,
        > > which is about 3 inches on a side. Illuminated on one
        > > side, such a cube would produce only 1.2 watts. Perhaps
        > > the cube goes in a concentrator? Then the concentrator
        > > must intercept a square meter of sunlight, and you have
        > > the mechanical complexity of that.
        > >
        > > Their cell technology looks very interesting, but their
        > > web page makes it look like these are "high end" cells,
        > > likely to be very expensive and difficult to manufacture.
        > >
        > > Don't get me wrong. This company seems to be
        > > doing some nice work, and I applaud the work to
        > > combine PV with an effective storage technology.
        > > I personally think that PV/H2/Fuel cells will in the
        > > long run be a dominant energy technology.
        > >
        > > --
        > > Chuck Wright
        > > http://www.chuck-wright.com
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        >
      • Kevin L. Conlin
        Hi Chris, Thanks for your thoughtful insight. I hate to always sound like the solar curmudgeon, but managing peoples expectations about solar is one of the
        Message 3 of 5 , Jan 10, 2001
        • 0 Attachment
          Hi Chris, Thanks for your thoughtful insight. I hate to always sound like
          the solar curmudgeon, but managing peoples expectations about solar is one
          of the hardest things about this business. Like Chuck, when I tell people
          I'm in solar they ask when it will be practical. Since I've been earning my
          living in solar since 1984, I am inclined to think it's been practical for
          some time now. Now to change the subject:
          Did anyone see the article in the Chronicle today about the secret
          invention code named "Ginger" that is purported to be as important as the
          world wide web. Might be hype, but the inventor is Greg(?) Kamen, a well
          respected scientist and successful inventor who has achieved national
          recognition. Among those who have witnessed a demonstration of Ginger
          include Steve Jobs of Apple, who was "blown away" by the demo. Supposedly
          it will offer urban dwellers an alternative to a dirty and sometimes
          dangerous product they are now using. They predict Kamen will surpass Bill
          Gates in wealth once Ginger is commercialized. I'm writing this from
          memory, so I hope I have the names right, was wondering if anyone else knows
          of this project and what it entails. Best Regards, Kevin

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: EXT-Mendell, Christopher N <Christopher.Mendell@...>
          To: <hreg@egroups.com>
          Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2001 6:59 AM
          Subject: RE: [hreg] Digest Number 137


          > Kevin,
          >
          > I appreciate your calm and realistic insights into the nation's energy
          > future and specific situations as the come up in the "hreg" chat-mail. I
          > know that you have been "walking the walk" for a long time. I think the
          > concept of a "magic bullet" is rooted in our culture's proclivity for
          > convenience. And I agree that the media sensationalism can do more to
          > derail the integration of renewables into every day American life as
          opposed
          > to keeping it on track. If there is a silver lining, it might be that at
          > least the concept of renewable energy is kept up by these news items in
          the
          > minds every day Americans. People like George Lucas, Gene Roddenberry,
          > Arther C. Clarke and Carl Sagan whether one agreed with them or not did
          keep
          > the idea of Space Exploration alive in the minds of US tax payers. I
          > cuurntly work on the equivelant of HAL on the International Space Station,
          > albeit a conglomeration of obsolete 386's! The media attention genereated
          > by the above mentioned has indirectly helped me to make my living for the
          > past 9 years and, more importantly, has provided me the oppotunity to
          > contribute.
          >
          > I would like to share some recent thoughts on the matter our enregy
          future
          > for your comments. What follows is an exerpt from a recent email to an
          > associate:
          >
          > Tim
          >
          > Remember that I was talking about the idea of a solar cell that stored
          > energy? Well I guess I was just "tuning" into the network???.... See
          URL!
          > Unfortunately, not much info here but if it's real there is a chance we'll
          > see more about it later(if it's not mysteriously evaporated). (Now, As I
          > step up to my soap box)... The successful future in this country of
          > renewable energy will lie in its ability to "plug in" to the existing
          > infrastructure.
          >
          > Perhaps in as few as 20 years there could be a shift in infrastructure
          that
          > favors renewables if conventional energy supplies become prohibitively
          > expensive and renewables become cheap to produce but not easily integrated
          > into the existing infrastructure. That could justify the expense of
          massive
          > retooling. There seems to be an intrinsic inertia in the realm of humans
          > and technological development. e.g. The width of railroad tracks traces
          > back to Ancient Roman highway engineers and the width of chariot wheels.
          > Consider the corporate phenomena of the longevity of dubious management
          > decisions - long out lasting the departure of the offending parties only
          to
          > be weathered by those who follow. Viva the status quo, so to speak.
          >
          > But the more likely energy solution will stem from an inventiveness which
          > will strive to satisfy the nation's preoccupation with convenience.
          >
          > Thanks,
          > Chris Mendell
          >
          >
          > > -----Original Message-----
          > > From: Kevin L. Conlin [SMTP:kconlin@...]
          > > Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2001 1:26 PM
          > > To: hreg@egroups.com
          > > Subject: Re: [hreg] Digest Number 137
          > >
          > > Good call Chuck, the high efficiency cells SunPower sells are about $75
          > > for
          > > a cell the size of a postage stamp. They typically sell them to high
          end
          > > PV
          > > racing teams where a 1 meter square array can cost hundreds of thousands
          > > of
          > > dollars or more, but it is the best crystalline silicon on the planet.
          > > They
          > > also use it on some satellites since the efficiency approaches that of
          > > Gallium Arsenide.
          > >
          > > I agree with you that this is another example of marketing hype designed
          > > to
          > > attract attention to the players, not the technology. If you multiply
          the
          > > efficiency of a PV array times the efficiency of electrolysis times the
          > > efficiency of the fuel cell you'll discover that we're a long way from
          > > solving the nations energy problems. I've heard the same hype over the
          > > years from a host of other "revolutionary" technologies, including the
          old
          > > Arco thin film silicon, the Westinghouse bifacial cells, CdTe and CuInSE
          > > thin films, Texas Instruments spheral solar cells, point contact
          > > concentrators, LEPCON (don't even remember what that stood for), organic
          > > solar cells, triple junction amorphous, and oh yeah, that nuclear stuff
          > > that would be too cheap to meter. We seem to have a national obsession
          > > with
          > > magic bullet solutions, and when solar is in the picture it makes for a
          > > good
          > > story, as people do have an intuitive friendliness toward solar.
          Problem
          > > is
          > > all of these technologies have substantial hurdles in front of them, and
          > > commercialization is usually a decade away. Creating these unrealistic
          > > expectations does the solar industry a lot more harm than good.
          Regards,
          > > Kevin Conlin
          > >
          > > ----- Original Message -----
          > > From: Chuck Wright <chuck-wright@...>
          > > To: <hreg@egroups.com>
          > > Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2001 4:41 AM
          > > Subject: Re: [hreg] Digest Number 137
          > >
          > >
          > > > hreg@egroups.com wrote:
          > > >
          > > > >
          > > > > Subject: The Network bit on PV Electrolysis:
          > > > >
          > > > > For those that did not catch it:
          > > > >
          > > > >
          http://www.abcnews.go.com/onair/WorldNewsSaturday/altpower010106.html
          > > > > Andrew H. McCalla
          > > >
          > > > Nice to have some coverage, but I fear that they have
          > > > hopelessly garbled the message. Very little about this
          > > > news piece makes sense. They have certainly overhyped
          > > > it, which could cause more harm than good.
          > > >
          > > > What I hear from it is a cube the size of a Rubik's Cube
          > > > that costs $200, and that it produces 200 watts. Hang
          > > > on there. Sunlight carries a maximum of 1000 watts per
          > > > square meter. Their cell claims 21 percent efficiency.
          > > > A 1 square meter panel could produce 210 watts in full
          > > > sunlight. Compare a square meter to a Rubik's Cube,
          > > > which is about 3 inches on a side. Illuminated on one
          > > > side, such a cube would produce only 1.2 watts. Perhaps
          > > > the cube goes in a concentrator? Then the concentrator
          > > > must intercept a square meter of sunlight, and you have
          > > > the mechanical complexity of that.
          > > >
          > > > Their cell technology looks very interesting, but their
          > > > web page makes it look like these are "high end" cells,
          > > > likely to be very expensive and difficult to manufacture.
          > > >
          > > > Don't get me wrong. This company seems to be
          > > > doing some nice work, and I applaud the work to
          > > > combine PV with an effective storage technology.
          > > > I personally think that PV/H2/Fuel cells will in the
          > > > long run be a dominant energy technology.
          > > >
          > > > --
          > > > Chuck Wright
          > > > http://www.chuck-wright.com
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
          >
          >
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