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Revolutionary Solar Energy?



One of the largest inhibitors to cheap solar power has always been the high cost of solar panels (due to their thick glass, framing, and expensive silicon). San Jose-based Nanosolar, Inc. appears ready to eliminate these barriers with solar technology that utilizes thin sheets of non-silicon components that reduce the production costs by over 90% and decreases the thickness by 99% (the Nanosolar PowerSheets are thin enough to be rolled up).

Unlike many other solar companies, Nanosolar has already built a massive manufacturing plant and intends to deliver its first solar sheets to European customers in 2008 at a price that will put solar power at or below the per watt price of fossil fuel-based energy. The company claims that the technology is so versatile that they could be incorporated into roofing shingles or even rolled onto the top of cars or trucks. http://www.popsci.com/popsci/flat/bown/2007/green/item_59.html [Popular Science]

"Advice Network" - according to early tests, these are up to 19.5% efficient ... which is higher than almost any commercial grade solar panel.
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Saw this in my local paper (San Jose native) and it looks like really good stuff. Supposedly reduces the cost of solar panels by 1 order of magnitude, effectively making it much more economically feasible and cost-efficient.
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From this time and from this place, let my words go forth. This is a scam and should be looked upon with derision and disgust.

I wish to eat my words for I first worked with solar 31 years ago and have prayed for such an advancement.
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A mere 78 years separate the 1st flight by the Wright brothers(1903) and the 1st flight of the Space Shuttle(1981), and only 83 years separate Thomas Edison's 1st light bulb(1879) and the 1st practical visible-spectrum LED(1962).

I WANT TO BELIEVE!
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the australian companies Dyesol and Origin Energy have done something similar. I am unsure of the difference as I am not scientific minded. I just know that it is paper thin and solar power. I don't think they are ready for mass production however.

http://www.dyesol.com
http://www.originenergy.com.au/1233/SLIVER-technology
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I don't think they are a scam sham company (those are easy to spot), but they don't have a real product yet, just a technology they are working on. As an R&D engineer myself, I can assure you that's not the same thing.

It does not appear they are seeking individual investors (those things are nearly ALWAYS scams), but are working hard to try to make their technology work. Let's see what they come up with, but don't get crazy giddy yet. Their product needs to make power (both voltage and amps), be cheap, easily to install, weather-proof, have long durability, and high reliability. It's a tall order, so I wouldn't be too optimistic yet. I'm not super-optimistic on photo-voltaics, but if people want to risk their own capital (not do it on taxpayer funding), that says something. I wish them well. Better Californians than Red Chinese.
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Sid Morrison, I thought I was the last person who regularly uses the term "Red Chinese"!

I so hope this is not a scam or a technology that bogs down between development and deployment. As for tax money; I would greatly favor a DARPA-like prize challenge, funded by tax money, to do a head-to-head comparison of these alternative energy products, with a substantial purse.

I remember watching footage of the first Gulf War, and thinking: "Each of those cruise missiles they are firing off costs about as much as my house." (OK, I'm not certain about that, maybe a nuclear-tipped one costs that much.) I have little to no faith in new, practical developments coming from government agencies or national labs, although the basic science might be discovered there.

A fat cash prize, maybe $10 M over five years and additional loan guarantees, could mean that a promising company can develop a viable product. It would still mean some lean times, if the technology is expensive to develop; and there should be some kind of restrictions on management salaries and lavish new buildings. Still, this is less than the cost of about a day and a half of the "War against Terror".
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@Daniel-
Nah, I'm always careful to use "Red Chinese" to better discern between them and our nearly forgotten friends & allies in the Republic of China (a.k.a. Taiwan).

I'm not a big fan of taxpayer dollars getting used for any R&D (and that is my line of work!). Too many times, I've seen stupid things worked on for too long only because other people's $ was footing the bill. Likewise for cost-share programs as well. All these corporate welfare schemes just result in time and effort being misdirected on negative-NPV projects that wouldn't see the light of day if companies were risking their own capital.

All that said, the idea of a prize (delivered upon success), is a WHOLE lot better. Companies still risk their capital choosing what to work on and will naturally avoid foolhardy things just because a bureaucrat gets them funding. Nontheless, I'm not sure there is really a great need for a prize. Any company that develops a practical (economic is part of this too!) photovoltaic system will have enormous sales that dwarf any proposed prize. The market rewards successful innovation, not bureaucrats picking taxpayers' pockets.
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Yep its a scam, newsweek even claim that they have Google as investors..who would believe that??
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jun2006/tc20060626_804634.htm
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When a company like this puts a product OUT THE DOOR and turns over samples to be independently tested, then believe it. Until then, news sites should STFU and not encourage scammers to take investors money and run.

(I once worked at a brokerage who had a 'physicist' tell them he could produce a D-Cell-sized battery filled with nuclear waste that would power an entire home. When I showed them how impossible that was with a few simple equations they were SHOCKED that anyone would try to scam their investors.....)
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Ahhh - so research should be stopped, since no1 is producing a product?
Almost all great inventions have investors backing them up, when they have an idea and starts to reseach.
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Well, I've been waiting on them to put out a product since I read about it on Slashdot, about two years ago, I believe.

I'm still waiting.
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"A mere 78 years separate the 1st flight by the Wright brothers(1903) and the 1st flight of the Space Shuttle(1981), and only 83 years separate Thomas Edison’s 1st light bulb(1879) and the 1st practical visible-spectrum LED(1962)."

The latter achievement was harder; it involved quantum mechanics.

"Nah, I’m always careful to use “Red Chinese” to better discern between them and our nearly forgotten friends & allies in the Republic of China (a.k.a. Taiwan)."

I'm with you, man. I knew when Nixon claimed that capitalism would lead to democracy in China it was a crock. The Chinese pollute, steal jobs, and cause global unrest (Darfur, Tibet, Burma, North Korea). We're not perfect, either, but at least we have a written Constitution.
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Naives. The Red Chinese will mass produce your nanosolar thingamagic for a tenth of the production cost, thanks to child labor, ultra low benefits, intellectual property theft, and overall freedom deprivation and ruthless competition. Short sighted consumers all over the world will go for cheaper products, helped by the government tax aids adjustment to lower costs.

Ah Ah Ah Ah!
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"We’re not perfect, either, but at least we have a written Constitution."

Britian doesn't have a written constitution but we have done reasonably well for a few centuries.

Oh and don't you think that Americans pollute and cause global unrest (Iraq, Afghanistan, South America etc etc etc)?
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Advice Network: "Thin film is cheaper, but gives less power. It is promising, but there is still a long row to hoe."

Yes, however, look at regular standard solar panels. They are manufactured in rectangles, and not custom fitted to the shape of the roof. I'm not sure if there is a standard size of a panel, whether it's 2'x4' or 4'x8', but, you miss a lot of coverage nonetheless, especially if you have a Hip roof. Imagine if this could be fitted to valleys, peaks, hips = lots of unused sg ft with standard solar panels.

Jerry: "When a company like this puts a product OUT THE DOOR and turns over samples to be independently tested, then believe it."

I agree, but do you also know how ridiculous that is? Car companies don't do that, which is why some states, if not all, have a lemon list. This is why governments need to put laws in place to stop companies who produce "green" and "natural" products from scamming people. What about medical research? You can only test certain products on rats, and humans and compensate them. You need funding for theses and ideas. Here's an interesting article I heard about today (Canada, not US) about how companies are scamming with green and natural. In a few years if not less, it'll be fixed. Government's will put laws in place and catch up. http://www.cfrb.com/news/14/624134

"Until then, news sites should STFU and not encourage scammers to take investors money and run.

(I once worked at a brokerage who had a ‘physicist’ tell them he could produce a D-Cell-sized battery filled with nuclear waste that would power an entire home. When I showed them how impossible that was with a few simple equations they were SHOCKED that anyone would try to scam their investors…..)"

How do you know this solar idea is a scam? You're basing this off of what? Because of this apparent job you had with this one bad experience? Anyone who believes a story word of mouth over the internet compared to studies and statistics is a fool. See what happens to you in University. Plus, who would want to keep a battery with nuclear waste near their house anyways? That would be the first red flag. I'd go out on a limb and trust this company because Google has invested in it. Also, Popular Science has voted this product of the year for 2007, and currently this company will be supplying many countries for a while before it reaches the residential market. Now, I'm not an expert, but, usually scams are involved with residents and individuals. If this company did scam countries, we'll find out right away. Google's stock will drop, their reputation will be hurt, the company will go under, the factories gone, lawsuits amongst employees against the company, and European countries with their endless resources will make sure they get their money back one way or another. Plus with Governator in power, and being so Green, I'm sure he'd make sure they get punished to the full extent of the law.

Sid: "Let’s see what they come up with, but don’t get crazy giddy yet. Their product needs to make power (both voltage and amps), be cheap, easily to install, weather-proof, have long durability, and high reliability. It’s a tall order, so I wouldn’t be too optimistic yet. I’m not super-optimistic on photo-voltaics, but if people want to risk their own capital (not do it on taxpayer funding), that says something. I wish them well. Better Californians than Red Chinese."

Read the popular science article. It talks about how cheap it is to produce. In terms of installation - do you think green roofs and metal roofs are easy to install? It's not as easy as fiberglass shingled roofs but there's a huge market for these products. I'm sure it's weather proof enough. But nothing is 100%. That's why current solar sucks. By the time you pay it off, you may have to buy new panels. Water and ice shields and membranes will prevent water leaking through, along with moisture and vapor. Eventually we'll get there. Seriously. Look how much science has advanced in the last 10 years. They've compared AMD's new CPU to IBMs Deep Blue. Apparently AMD's new CPU is 100 times more powerful. Currently scientists have found a new way to get stem cells without killing embryos (this idea was applauded by the Bush administration and the Catholic Church). I'm quite confident in solar, as it is the most ideal solution compared to fossil fuels, bio-fuels, and wind.

Tom B: "The Chinese pollute, steal jobs, and cause global unrest (Darfur, Tibet, Burma, North Korea). We’re not perfect, either, but at least we have a written Constitution."

THEY TOOK OUR JOBBBBBSSSS. Will you shut up with this crap. You got beat by your own game of Capitalism by your own "kind". It's American owned companies who decided to establish their factories in China because you all whined and complained for the luxury lifestyle. Everyone's blaming China for led paint currently. Yet, the American company designs the product and orders how it's made. The American government didn't put laws in place to ban imported led paint based products. If anyone's at fault, it's the very own people you trust who are giving under paid workers orders. I don't know why everyones so hung up about the Chinese. They currently have more money invested in green technology than the US. Yeah they pollute more than anyone, but watch, in 10 years they'll surpass North America with energy efficiency. Anyone read up on the artificial sun and how it far surpasses any fusion and nuclear facility in the world currently? You got to experience cars, ovens, microwaves, convection toaster ovens, LED tvs, etc. The Chinese say "You had your turn, now it's our time to have these luxuries".

China is more democratic than you think compared to ten years ago. The reason why they aren't coming out and saying it and changing all the rules and laws is because they're learning from Russia's horrible experience. Why do you think Russia is more red than China? Why is America trying to constantly improve relations with China yet isolate Cuba and other redish nations.

Now currently with the high Canadian dollar Americans are actually moving to Canada. So YOU'RE TAKING THERE JOBS. Americans own on average 2-3 cars (a brand new car pollutes in production more than a used car ever would with exhaust over a span of 40 years).

By Darfur I'm guessing you mean the oil situation. Yet it seems like many American's are buying oil from Venezuela and at the same time criticize the hell out of the country for being pure left of Castro.

It really makes me laugh when people think shameful of the Catholic, Muslim and Jewish faith because of hundreds of years of problems and their horrible track record for treating human life. But people believe that the Buddhist and Buddhism somehow are beyond that, more peaceful and have always been on their best behavior. No one wants to research the issue of Tibet being part of a Theocracy which used brute force against its own people. I don't support China's occupation of Tibet. I am just stating that no ones hands are clean, and believing that is purely naive. When will America give pure independence to the territories they took over after the Spanish American war? When will they leave Iraq? After the 14th volume is released explaining for the 14th time why they're there which contradicts the other 13 times?

By Burma do you mean lately with the violence and riots which was condemned by China? America did as much as China did. Nextttt...

The North Korean issue was probably the most avoidable issue in the history of the world. They are isolated and cut off by everyone due to sanctions. People are dieing and suffering from starvation. The leader is a total idiot. Yet, he comes to the conclusion to solve these problems by using nuclear technology. Or, at least it will help by producing electricity, increase farming, etc. America says stop. N.K says no problem, only if you help our energy crisis. America says no problem. A few years later, the promise is still an empty fulfilled one. N.K says forget them let's start the nuclear thing again. America says "wtf, we had an agreement". NK says "you didn't live up to it". A few threats later, America finally agrees to the original agreement and is currently helping them with their energy crisis. The last 10 years have been wasted with arguing between two nations, and all America had to do was help build them a hydro dam. Wow.

America tries to parent the world and that's why they're the number one hated nation in the world. Being number 1 sucks no matter what. They invade Iraq, but tell Turkey not to. They tell people not to use nuclear weapons, to disarm, and scrap nuclear technology. Yet, they're allowed to. I'd tell America to F#$% off as well with that attitude. Don't deny it. America has told the world to F$%^ off when it comes to guns and the imperial system of measurement.

America has a constitution and that makes you beneficial how? Hitler took the peace treaties and constitution of Germany, ripped it up and said "it's just a piece of paper". Andrew Jackson violated a supreme court judges ruling to protect another nation who wrote their own constitution. You're far from perfect. Which is fine. But it's annoying when you claim you're better than everyone when you're just as bad.

THEY TOOK OUR JOBBBBBBBSSSS

DEY DURRKRKKK DAAA DURRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
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I hope that this tecnology will be available in Europe in 2008 as stated. I have read about organic cells and nanostructures that are under development in a italian CNR institute, but efficence should be not so high as 19.5% as some of you write. This sounds great and interesting, but we have to wait for something more than a prototype
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I hope that Nanosolar is for real, but there are several things that would point to a scam:
1.) Their second production solar panel went up for sale on e-bay. Two fishy things about their offer: (1) "all bidders acknowledge and agree that this panel is presented as a collectable item that may have potential historical value, not an item meeting any specifications." and even worse, "This solar panel is currently in Seller’s possession but it will be held in escrow until 6/1/2009 before local pick-up by the winning bidder."
In other words, you can't see it or have it, and they make no claims about it, present no facts about it, do not say how much it is worth, etc.
Furthermore, Beck Energy, the company that they are partnering with in Germany, doesn't appear to be more legitimate. I went on their website, and they don't have any working solar working plants, but they appear to be trying to sell investments in their plants to the public!
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On December 18th, 2007, Nanosolar announced the were shipping their first units. Then--a big nothing! No announcements about follow on orders, no announcement about price, features, performance, new customers besides Beck, etc. The quiet is deafening. Who are they shipping to? Are the solar panels they shipped working? Are they meeting expectations? Is the new production methodology working? Anything you can say?
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