What happened to efficient solar panels?

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Offline Val Waters

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What happened to efficient solar panels?
« on: 18/10/2009 17:30:03 »
Val Waters asked the Naked Scientists:
Hi Chris
I hear you most weeks talking to Redi Direko on Cape Talk on Fridays and have not managed to get through to you on air.
We keep hearing about the cost of electricity. rising etc. and yet a few years back I read about this new form of solar energy being developed by Dr Vivian Robers of RAU - I think now Johannesburg University.    It all sounded too good to be true, a way of not only heating our water, but providing electricity for all our household appliances by this new method.   I have tried in vain to find out what has happened.  Was this not for real after all?  Germany was supposed to be building plants to produce these units and investing large sums of money and SA was supposed to be patenting this invention, which,  "stunned the scientific world". 
One would think that this would be given top level priority by government and media alike, but I can find out nothing about it and wonder if you could shed any light on the subject.
We have been using solar energy for over thirty years to heat our water and that is a massive saving, but would be nothing compared to this invention.   Could it be that Eskom would not like us to have potentially cheap energy?
Any info from you would be much appreciated, not only by me but by listeners to you on Redi's programme.
Many thanks for any help.

Val Waters

[Val included a newspaper cutting describing the invention of a unique flexible alloy that was both cheaper and more efficient than traditional silicon solar panels]

What do you think?


Offline MichaelJPierce

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What happened to efficient solar panels?
« Reply #1 on: 22/12/2009 19:11:51 »
Often scientist will make claims of potential break throughs they are working on without having all the details sorted out or completely developed.

Why would they do this? For some face time in the popular science circuit in a hope to gain much needed funding to continue their research. Often times people are faced with a financial crunch and need to show some work in order to gain investor interest in the project. I personally see it as a desperate bid. Any other company that develops products does the same thing, but only to raise attention to their products for higher sales upon release. Anyone who has followed the trends of the video game industry can tell you of the many pushed back deadlines and project cancellations that come about (even upon a game with much promise) because of finances, controversy, and/or lack of general interest.

There is hope though! A number of different companies are still working on improving solar technology. Some even sell their new and improve solar tech, but at a cost that is too pricey for shrewd business types.

check out some of these companies as an example

newbielink:http://www.kyosemi.co.jp/product/pro_ene_sun_e1.html [nonactive]

newbielink:https://inlportal.inl.gov/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=1269&mode=2&featurestory=DA_101047 [nonactive]

And for a humorous take on this concept, check out the latest xkcd.com comic strip.

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