Applied Materials’ Baccini screen printers are the solar industry’s long-time standard for low-cost, high-volume deposition of metal contacts on solar cells. But do not imagine that this long history represents the end of the road. In fact new advances in screen printing are major contributors to the solar industry’s ongoing reductions in solar cell processing costs.
Here at Applied we talk a lot about scale, because ultimately scale is the key to unlocking solar power’s potential to transform our energy economy. The reason for this is simple: scale drives down costs. This is the essential lesson of solar’s historical development, and it has important implications for solar’s future.
If anyone has any doubts about the difficulties of the solar business in the U.S. then the recent decision to use a Canadian company to furnish the 3.4 acres of solar panels atop San Jose’s International Airport’s new rental car garage should come as no surprise.
Ever since the first conference to discuss what solar could do for meeting electricity supply held in 1973, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, the solar industry has talked about the holy grail of "grid parity".
California will miss its 20% RPS target in 2010, and the very issues that caused the state to miss its 2010 goal will persist as we slog toward a 33% RPS goal by 2020. So say some folks that ought to know.
Last night, Climate One and the Commonweatlh Club of California hosted a roundtable with four highly successful professionals, each dedicated to achieving California’s aggressive RPS goals while also establishing a robust clean tech industry that creates and keeps jobs in the state of California. On stage was (L to R) a pro-renewable chairman of the California Public Utility Commission, Mike Peevey, an executive from a progressive utility, Nancy McFadden of PG&E, a CEO from the #1 solar capital equipment company, Mike Splinter of Applied Materials, a practical environmentalist, Bob Epstein of Environmental Entrepreneurs, and, no, that’s not an oxymoron, as well as moderator, Greg Dalton founder of Climate One.
"I figure lots of predictions is best. People will forget the ones I get wrong and marvel over the rest." That maxim is attributed to Alan Cox, a Welshman of Linux Kernel and wild hair fame.
I know the end of the year is approaching when I see the annual predictions hitting the newsstands. Most of the prediction game is weak sauce - not very insightful with the very good chance of being spectacularly wrong. "DOW 36,000" anyone? So imagine my surprise when asked to blog my utility scale solar predictions for 2010.
In conversations about utility scale renewable energy, I'm consistently running into the same three misperceptions.
#1:Renewable energy requires new transmission. When utilities and policy makers think large scale renewable energy, they think first about wind and concentrating solar thermal. For utility scale generation, both technologies have had a head start versus solar PV (and, therefore, are more top-of-mind). But
We can manufacture our way out of our current energy conundrum. That's because solar power, unlike fossil-fuel-generated electricity, is manufactured energy. Manufactured energy: it’s a powerful concept. Sunlight is absorbed, processed and converted, as opposed to fossil fuels, which must be located, extracted, shipped and burned.
MANUFACTURE AND GENERATE CLEAN ENERGY LOCALLY. RECIRCULATE YOUR ENERGY DOLLARS LOCALLY. It’s a concept that’s pretty hard to argue. Most recognize that taking advantage of the Sun's energy addresses greenhouse gas emissions, but this post isn’t aimed at making more sweeping claims that solar will save the planet. Rather, what’s often overlooked is that manufacturing clean energy locally yields economic benefits to the community.