Saturday, January 22, 2011

Solar power---It has to be the primary energy source of the future, doesn't it?

Perhaps I am stubborn and/or naive, but I believe solar power is the ONLY way to go when seeking an alternative energy source to power our economy in the future. It will never diminish or go away. Well, it WILL go away eventually, but then so will we along with it, so I will make the claim anyway.  It will not happen now, or even in 50 years, but it has to happen eventually.  My hope is that its development follows the trajectory of computer technology.. We have all seen (and some of us lived through) the time when computers did very simple calculations but took up a roomful of very inefficient and expensive computers. The advent of the micro-computer chip change everything. We see the same thing with solar--those large, odd-shaped solar panels that power a small one-man vehicle at very low speeds (see article below), analogous to the early computers.  What is going to be the micro-chip equivalent that will do the same thing for solar?  Is it even possible? Hey, if you are not going to major in Economics, I think this would be an worthy endeavor---are you up to it?

Solar car speed record smashed

“We're really on the edge of energy efficiency,” said project manager Daniel Friedman, whose team managed to convert 98% of power from solar panels into kinetic energy. The record run used only 1050 watts of power, similar to that used by a toaster...."
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