Solar Power Becoming More Efficient
For many of us, solar energy has always made sense. Decades ago, the technology was criticized for being too inefficient to be considered at scale. These days, the technology has advanced so much, it’s clear that soon solar energy will be a major part of our renewable energy plan. I discuss this in more detail in my most recent Huffington Post article.
The International Energy Agency has made a prediction that solar power will be the largest source of electricity within the next forty years. A recent study from Cambridge says that we’re ready to smash the solar efficiency ceiling. So what changed?
Traditional solar cells have consisted of inorganic semi-conductors, like silicon. Silicon conductors only stimulate one electron. But now, we’re figuring out how to harness organic materials like pentacene to be used as semi-conductors. These conductors double the electron stimulation, and therefore energy output, of its inorganic counterparts. Cells are already being built using a hybrid of both semi-conductors.
Wind and hydro-electric power have together dominated the alternative energy industry. Solar is about to enter the ring with renewed gusto. This new competition is expected to help bring prices down, decrease the overall environmental impact of energy production, and increase efficiency.
When we look at Los Angeles amidst this drought, it is evident how important it is to create more efficient ways to create power. The heat wave from last week caused city-wide blackouts. Could there be a future where we can avoid that? Solar energy produces energy with little cost. That’s a renewable energy source worth pursuing.