Super Solar Cells

Today’s blog post is actually two stories in one. First, we’ll look at cutting edge solar cells, and then we’ll look at how improved, lower cost solar is ushering in a new age of electric transportation and home energy systems.

“Australian scientists from the University of NSW have set a new world record for the efficiency of commercially-viable solar cells. Dr Graham Phillips investigates new technology that is able to convert more than 40 per cent of the sun’s light into electricity. This is more than double the efficiency of today’s domestic rooftop solar panels, and could eventually lead to cheaper sources of renewable energy.”


100% electric transportation and 100% solar by 2030

Tony Seba, author of “Clean Disruption” gives the keynote address at the AltCars Expo and Conference, Sept 19, 2014. Rather than just give his opinion, Mr. Seba from Stanford University shares what’s already happening in the marketplace and uses that information to extrapolate into the future. While our blog is clearly about natural building, I’m posting this story here because our energy choices also affect the energy we use in our homes. For instance, plug in an electric vehicle at night to recharge the batteries. According to this book, it looks like solar has a very bright future.

A few facts from the slide at 5:58:
1. The electric motor is 5x more efficient than the internal combustion engine.
2. Electric vehicle (EV) costs are 10x cheaper than internal combustion engine vehicles.
3. EV maintenance costs are 5x-10x cheaper than internal combustion engine vehicles.
4. Wireless charging.
5. Electric motors are far more powerful than internal combustion engines.

“The book ‘Clean Disruption’ and this keynote assert that by 2030:
• All new mass-market vehicles will be electric.
• All of these vehicles will be autonomous (self-driving).
• Up to 80 per cent of parking spaces and highways will be redundant.
• Taxis as we know them will be obsolete.
• The concept of car ownership will be obsolete.
• Oil will be obsolete
• All new energy will be provided by solar (and wind)”


3 thoughts on “Super Solar Cells”

  1. A friend in Monteray, CA had solar installed. There was a large storm, power outage and he had no power. Evidently the salespeople are not telling that there must be a battery backup in case of disruption. He is quite disgruntled at not having power. I think the power companies like it that way, gives them more power (excuse the pun).

    • This seems like a new breakthrough. Maybe the information is not widely available yet. The main point is there have been lots of solar energy breakthroughs. Performance keeps improving as the cost declines.


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