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

spike spike66 at att.net
Tue Mar 22 02:00:30 UTC 2011

... On Behalf Of Kelly Anderson
Subject: Re: [ExI] [tt] Smaller, cheaper, faster: Does Moore's law apply to
solar cells?

On Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 4:41 AM, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 01:17:04AM -0600, Kelly Anderson wrote:
> It is a nice article, it however glosses over (deliberately?) in how 
> photovoltaics is not like Moore's law.

>...Exponential  curves are exponential.. in what way is it not like
Moore's? In the doubling period? In that it isn't feature based? I like
Kurzweil's term "Law of Accelerating Returns" a little better than "Moore's


Moore's law isn't applicable to PVs for so many good reasons.  Even if we
ignore the fact that Moore's law has been extended so far beyond what it was
originally proposed to describe, it still isn't applicable to solar cells.
We are going to hit a wall soon with the cost of raw materials of solar
cells.  In microprocessors, the magic was in finding new and clever ways to
miniaturize integrated circuits, so more could be done with less raw

With PV, I would argue we are within a factor of about 2 of the lowest cost
they will ever be.  That is good enough to make them worth having, but it
creates a whole nuther set of challenges having to do with load leveling

When I see articles extrapolating PV costs way down exponentially without
reasonable justification, those immediately go into the bit bucket.

It surprises me: Scientific American has historically been such a careful
magazine.  They seem to have gone way down in their standards.


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