Cheaper, Better Cells May Give Solar Energy a Market Boost
A new type of low-cost, high-energy cell could make solar power much more affordable and widespread.
Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn
What's the Latest Development?
RTI International, a nonprofit R&D center based in North Carolina, has announced the creation of a new kind of solar cell that can provide the same amount of energy as traditional photovoltaic cells but can be produced for up to 75% less cost. In addition, the potential is there for this type of cell to produce even more power than its predecessor. According to one researcher, "There are many well-known techniques to enhance absorption, which suggests that the performance can increase substantially." The cell also has increased access to infrared light, giving it more of the light spectrum for energy creation.
What's the Big Idea?
Although the idea of converting sunlight to energy has been around for quite a while, solar power only makes up less than 1 percent of the world's energy supply, and that largely has to do with the production costs involved in making photovoltaics. The new RTI-designed cell can "be manufactured using high volume roll-to-roll processing and inexpensive coating processes, which reduces capital costs and increases production." The ability to create these cells at room temperature also saves money on energy requirements.
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The world's richest people could breeze through a climate disaster – for a price.
- A new report from a United Nation expert warns that an over-reliance on the private sector to mitigate climate change could cause a "climate apartheid."
- The report criticizes several countries, including the U.S., for taking "short-sighted steps in the wrong direction."
- The world's poorest populations are most vulnerable to climate change even though they generally contribute the least to global emissions.
Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
- Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
- This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
- The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
Don't underestimate the power of play when it comes to problem-solving.
- As we get older, the work we consistently do builds "rivers of thinking." These give us a rich knowledge of a certain kind of area.
- The problem with this, however, is that as those patterns get deeper, we get locked into them. When this happens it becomes a challenge to think differently — to break from the past and generate new ideas.
- How do we get out of this rut? One way is to bring play and game mechanics into workshops. When we approach problem-solving from a perspective of fun, we lose our fear of failure, allowing us to think boldly and overcome built patterns.
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