“An interesting technology development in energy production. Fullermoney readers may be interested in this video report on research into the printing of solar cells just like Australia's polymer banknotes.”
Eoin Treacy's view Thank you for this informative article highlighting the different ways in which solar power production can be enhanced. The evolution of polymer solar cells evokes the trade-off that occurred in chip manufacture with the advent of cheap memory in the 1980s. This allowed Intel's higher energy consumption models to dominate until ARM gained an advantage in handheld devices where heat and energy consumption trumped brawn.
4-junction silicon cells might be a lot more efficient than polymer cells but since the cost of producing polymers is multiples cheaper, the total cost of producing electricity is likely to become a more important factor over the coming decade. What we can be virtually assured of is that as long as the incentive to improve the technology exists, efficiency and cost reduction are likely to be on trajectories of exponential improvement.
Solar is not yet competitive with fossil fuels, particularly natural gas in the USA, but that is unlikely to always be the case.