Energy Ideas For A New Decade

Energy Ideas For A New Decade

Ever since I got my first solar-powered LCD watch in the late 1970s, I’ve been a fan of solar power, but what has amazed me in the 40’ish years since then is the rather pathetic advances we’ve made in solar panel efficiency. In 1954 Bell Labs achieved an energy conversion efficiency rate of 6%, then 25 years later we about doubled that, but in the 40 years since, we’ve only really seen another 50% increase to about 19% although more expensive panels can now get you 25%-30% with the super expensive ones that go into space getting nearly 50%. Another problem with solar panels and “green energy” in general is that the ecological impact of the manufacture and disposal of the components has a devastating environmental impact.