The Nanosolar company is working to build the world’s largest solar cell factory in California (slated to be in full production in 2008), and the world’s largest panel-assembly factory in Germany.
They have successfully created a solar coating that is as thin as a layer of paint, while at the same time reducing the cost of production from $3 a watt to only 30 cents per watt. For the first time in history, solar power will be cheaper than burning coal.
Nanosolar won the Popular Science Innovation of 2007 award, and they plan on producing their first product next year. They have been able to reduce the price of solar power by 90 percent. This has the potential to radically change the equation when it comes to choosing your energy sources.
I am building a new office building for my practice and web team and we hope to move in in the spring of 2008, so this is an important current topic for me.
It seems obvious to me that this technology will allow us to not only radically lower our utility bills, but do it with non-polluting clean solar energy. Unfortunately the commercial production of these solar cells will not start till next year, but it seems quite clear that this is industry shattering innovation. That is probably why my favorite technology reporting periodical, Popular Science, voted Nanosolar the Innovation of the 2007.
There is enough energy in the sunshine that falls on the earth in one hour to satisfy the energy needs of the entire human race for ONE YEAR. We simply have to stop this crazy reliance of fossil fuels. Nanosolar seems to be the best bet I have seen to date to start this transition.
The fact that most leaders of the world have been unwilling to fully endorse wide use of solar energy is most likely because they can’t make money from it – just as with the current medical paradigm; sick people are sources of profit, healthy people are not. Likewise, energy self-sufficient communities are not something these corporate and political giants are rooting for.
Why Solar is a Win-Win-Win for You, Your Children and Your Environment
Not only can solar power now beat out coal in terms of cost, but your children and your environment can benefit along with your budget.
Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of mercury emissions in the United States, and are a major reason why many of our fish are too toxic to eat. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 12 women of childbearing age have mercury levels in their blood that exceeds levels that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says is safe for fetuses.
The toxic effects of mercury emissions are well established. Studies from previous years have found that 40 percent of mercury emissions come from coal burning power plants and have been found to cause neurological problems. Yet the United States has been dragging its feet when it comes to regulating these emissions, and the longer we delay in adopting alternative sources of renewable, non-polluting forms of energy, the longer we put countless infants and children at risk for brain damage.
In addition to mercury, which can cause numerous health problems, including damage to your central nervous system and neurological and developmental problems, coal-fired plants emit four additional pollutants:
- Sulfur dioxide, the leading cause of acid rain
- Nitrogen oxides, which contribute to smog-forming ground-level ozone
- Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas implicated in global warming
- “Fly ash,” which are lung-damaging soot particles