“In the last three years, however, the economics have turned decidedly in favor of PV technology. A glut of PV panels, made mostly in China, has pushed their prices down 62 percent 2010, sinking from $1.87 per watt to about 71¢. While at least three other concentrating solar plants are set to come online by 2016, many others are being converted to PV or canceled. “Right now, PV is the favored technology,” says Ben Kallo, an energy technology analyst with Robert W. Baird, a Milwaukee-based investment bank. “You are getting pretty close to fossil-fuel-type costs with PV technology in about 50 percent of the world, anywhere with high electricity prices and lots of sun.” At the same time, “no one’s quite mastered concentrating power,” Kallo says. Even though the supply glut has diminished, analysts expect PV panel prices to continue to decline, in part because panels are getting more efficient at producing power.”
See the entire article on Bloomberg Businessweek.
Smart water – using technology to help effectively manage and protect the water supply is beginning to take off, according to an article in Smart Grid News. Cities are beginning to invest to protect their water supplies and minimize waste. Here’s a good overview on Smart Water projects worldwide.
Oxford Photovoltaics (a commercial spin-off of Oxford University) has developed building glass in multiple colors that can generate solar electricity.
The glass is essentially a solar panel that can turn the entire building into a PV solar generator at very little extra cost – the building would require glass anyway.
Oxford Photovoltaics has added a layer of transparent colored organic solar cell materials to conventional glass. The solar glass can be almost any color; however, the efficiency varies depends on which one you choose. Black, as in typical solar panels, has the highest efficiency.
The additional cost of a solar glass building with this technology would be no greater than 10% of typical glass building façades. It’s believed that the solar glass could eventually replace conventional solar PV in glass buildings.