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Solar Power Plastic

Fifty years after the introduction of photovoltaics, they are still stiff, bulky,
and extremely expensive. The time till cost recovery for silicon based solar panels
is 8 to 10 years.

Scientist at U.C. Santa Barbara are developing a way to make the sun’s energy affordable to everyone. Knowing to accomplish their goal, the first step
had to be finding a cheaper material than silicon. Dr. Alan Heeger made a
surprising discovery that propelled the project past possibility into
reality when he mixed plastic with a fullerene (a carbon molecule),
and the electrons in the plastic began moving.

In the process of testing the speed at which their new type of solar
cell conducts electricity, the team was excited at finding the
efficiency far exceeded their expectations. Because it happened
in a time scale even faster than the first steps of photosynthesis.
A thousandth of a billionth of a second. That’s pretty darn
efficient.

Using different plastic and fullerene combinations, they have made
several kinds of solar ink, each absorbing a different wave length
of the sun’s energy. These solar inks can be sprayed on any surface
in layers, each layer responding to a different wave length of light.

This process will allow solar cells to be printed out like newspapers
on a printingpress at very high speeds and very high volumes.

Dr. Heeger and his team have joined forces with a company called
Konarka to bring to  market the revolutionary Power Plastic.

Power Plastic is a new breed of solar power, it can pick up very low
light such as on cloudy days, or “off” angles. It doesn’t have to be
pointed directly at the sun. It’s flexible enough to conform to the
contour of any surface, and someday the possibility of having it built
right into the roofing material itself. Or a self powering cell phone,
set it on the counter and the overhead light recharges it.

Conventional solar panels cost $2.40 per watt, power plastic is
currently below $1.00 per watt. But once it is out of the experimental
stage and into large scale production, the goal is to get it down to
$0.10 per watt!

Power Plastic should be available soon, and possible by 2010 the
ability to power your entire house.

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No Responses to “Solar Power Plastic”

  1. Mark Says:

    Thet made fascinating reading with the rising costs of energy here in the UK solar panels are something I would seriously consider and the efficiency of these look first class.

    Marks last blog post..Wordless Wednesday

  2. Linda Says:

    Hi Mark .. I am glad you enjoyed the read. The will be the talk of the world when it hits the marketplace!

  3. laura godsil Says:

    The age of going green is very exciting.Can’t wait to see the next inovation. Maybe there is some hope for this world after all.

    laura godsils last blog post..Hate The Sin, Not The Sinner

  4. Leanne Lonergan Says:

    Hi Linda, This is awesome news…I am going to pass this on to my cousin. He is a solar and wind power technician. This would be great not only for his business but for all of us!

    Leanne Lonergans last blog post..Colour at work….not just for the décor!

  5. Barbara Says:

    This sounds great! I love these kinda of stories. When can we sign-up? I’ll be sure I’m among the first in line!

  6. Linda Says:

    Hi Laura … yes, this is a great time to be thinking or going green. The internet has provided a forum for all kinds of new products that will be available soon.

    Hi Leanne .. That would be cool! I am sure folks are waiting and wanting it sooner than 2010. We”ll see!

    Hi Barbara … I will let you all know when it comes available cause you will have to beat me to be first! LOL 🙂

  7. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Linda,

    Can you imagine? A solar panel that doesn’t need direct sunlight. That’s unbelievable. Why didn’t they think of this sooner? It has the capabilities of saving SO much money and energy.

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..Your Today Is My Tomorrow

  8. Linda Says:

    Hi Barbara … It is cool isn’t it!

    Lindas last blog post..Run Your Car on Water and Gas!

  9. meredith Says:

    Doesn’t plastic require the use of oil?

    merediths last blog post..Alone in the Mountains with Thunder

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