[ExI] [tt] Smaller, cheaper, faster: Does Moore's law apply to solar cells?

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Mon Mar 21 10:41:02 UTC 2011

On Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 01:17:04AM -0600, Kelly Anderson wrote:
> On Sun, Mar 20, 2011 at 12:21 PM, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:
> > Smaller, cheaper, faster: Does Moore's law apply to solar cells?
> Yes. Great article. Thanks for sharing Eugen. However, the cost of

It is a nice article, it however glosses over (deliberately?)
in how photovoltaics is not like Moore's law. Thankfully, even
by doubling very little (from 1% to 2% over a year) you can
achieve e.g. 12.5% of peak (e.g. yesterday http://imgur.com/nu9D7 ), 
and have to deal with interesting problems like 


It seems like I need to start budgeting for a WhisperGen. 
Can't really argue with a quiet, affordable appliance with >90% efficiency.

> solar cells are half of the expense of a single home system. The other
> half are batteries (which are on a similar cost reduction curve) and

Batteries are no good at the moment. I would rather buy a decent
on-demand diesel -- or abovementioned WhisperGen, running of LNG.

> inverters (which to my knowledge are not).

There are panels with integrated inverters now. You could also synthesize
AC in realtime from individual cell's contribution (perhaps using
capacitors to prevent wasting crossing zero). But I definitely do
like DC very much, with DC/DC converters, and DC/AC when you
absolutely, positively need to have AC which I don't think is
very often.
> Nanosolar is investing in 100 house sized installations that live in a
> field nearby, not on your own roof. There are a lot of benefits to

It should be your roof, not being on your roof. And facades.

> this approach, since people don't need their own inverters or
> electrical storage systems. For this type of installation, the cost of
> the cells themselves becomes much more important, and Nanosolar and
> the other continuous film producers are getting the cost down at a
> very quick clip.

The bottleneck is not inking up the sheet metal, the bottleneck
is putting it up, wiring it up and upgrading the grid to a P2P
model. Dinosaurs don't understand agile producer swarms.
> So my view of the future is not so much solar on every rooftop. At
> least not for quite a while. Even though it's on my roof top, but for
> unusual reasons.

Insular PV will help terraform Arizona and Texas.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820 http://www.ativel.com http://postbiota.org
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