Reply To: Global warming solutions? – geo-engineering? PV cells?


Email from Worldwatch had upbeat item on photovoltaic cells, which may help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

The solar industry is poised for a rapid decline in
costs that will make it a mainstream power option in the next few years,according to a new assessment by the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, D.C., and the Prometheus Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Global production of solar photovoltaic cells, which turn sunlight
directly into electricity, has risen sixfold since 2000 and grew 41
percent in 2006 alone. Although grid-connected solar capacity still
provides less than 1 percent of the world’s electricity, it increased
nearly 50 percent in 2006, to 5,000 megawatts, propelled by booming
markets in Germany and Japan. Spain is likely to join the big leagues in
2007, and the United States soon thereafter.

Solar Power Set to Shine Brightly

Mentions China’s largest photovoltaic cells producer, Suntech
Suntech Power website looks well worth a visit.

Some sunny facts on solar energy:

* The Sun has sufficient helium mass to provide the Earth with energy for another 5 billion years and, every 15 minutes, it emits more energy than humankind uses in an entire year.

* The Earth receives only one half of one billionth of the Sun’s radiant energy, but, in just a few days, it gets as much heat and light as could be produced by burning all the oil, coal and wood on the planet.

* The Sun represents 99.8% of the total mass of our solar system, its surface temperature is 6000ºC, and its total energy could melt an ice cube the size of planet Earth in just 30 minutes.

* Worldwide, some 2 billion people are still without electricity and, for these populations, it is more economically viable to install solar panels than to extend established electricity grids.

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/05/28 08:48