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Solar Panel Breakthrough

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posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 08:35 PM

In a scientific breakthrough that has stunned the world, a team of South African scientists has developed a revolutionary new, highly efficient solar power technology that will enable homes to obtain all their electricity from the sun.

This means high electricity bills and frequent power failures could soon be a thing of the past.

The unique South African-developed solar panels will make it possible for houses to become completely self-sufficient for energy supplies.

The panels are able to generate enough energy to run stoves, geysers, lights, TVs, fridges, computers - in short all the mod-cons of the modern house.

SA solar research eclipses rest of the world

First world stunning news to come out of SA since they gave up their nukes.

Not much detail on how it works, or how much energy, but they do sound very excited about it.

Coupled with new Nanotube Ultracapacitors maybe there is a petro-less future for us.

posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 08:56 PM
This would be the greatest discovery in energy since nuclearpower plants started springing up around the world. I just hope it becomes commercialy available in the states.

posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 09:10 PM
Good find.
I hope something comes of this.

The South African solar panels consist of a thin layer of a unique metal alloy that converts light into energy. The photo-responsive alloy can operate on virtually all flexible surfaces, which means it could in future find a host of other applications.

Wow, I wonder if we'll see "solar paint" developed? Solar may not be the ultimate answer to our energy woes, but with developments like this, it shows that it definately has a place in alleviating the load for fossil fuels. IMO we should be looking at (and utilising) cleaner alternatives rather than waiting around for the utopian free energy world.

posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 09:24 PM

Originally posted by fingapointa

Wow, I wonder if we'll see "solar paint" developed?

Actually it already has:

Spray-On Solar-Power Cells Are True Breakthrough

They are not as efficient as others, but simplicity in application could lead to wide use.

posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 09:29 PM
This is great technology, I also hope that it comes to the states and is affordable. There are alot of solar alternatives out there, but most of them are pretty expensive.

posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 09:47 PM
That was so unenlightening. It was a press release made to look like news.
No mention of it's efficiency, the number of wavelengths it converts to usable current or even it's cost.

Hype at it's worst and ugliest
. If this was such a huge breakthrough as they claim you would at least think they would include that information in this press release dressed up to look like "news".

International experts have admitted that nothing else comes close to the effectiveness of the South African invention.

No direct quotes with names? Very odd. It makes sure regular folks like me cannot check into this more deeply(I've been wanting to put some panels on my roofs for quite some time) and since their homepage appears to be conviently just makes me more suspicious.

The South African solar panels consist of a thin layer of a unique metal alloy that converts light into energy. The photo-responsive alloy can operate on virtually all flexible surfaces, which means it could in future find a host of other applications.

This approach is not new at all. I've been hearing about how cheap this alloy-based approach would be but TANSTAAFL(There ain't no such thing as a free lunch). This method has turned out to be much less efficient then Silicon Cells. Even less efficient then amorphous solar cells.

Sorry but until they release some hard data(which is backed up by the Grid Tied folks) I will remain sceptical of their claims.

This is what really spiked my BS meter.

The unique South African-developed solar panels will make it possible for houses to become completely self-sufficient for energy supplies.

This is a blantant lie. In no way are Alloy based solar cells "unique".

ArchAngel sorry about this but "articles" such as this really piss me off. If they DO work as advertised then GREAT! I am doubting their claims though. If you can find some sources with concrete details that are testable when they do come to market then great!

But at this point it just looks more like fluff in order to drum up additional capital investment.

[edit on 20-2-2006 by sardion2000]

[edit on 20-2-2006 by sardion2000]

posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 10:43 PM
I agree sardion2000, in fact, the University of Johannesburg thinks it's such a great breakthrough that they have forgotten to place the information on their homesite:

posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 11:24 PM
1. Be as vague as possible

2. Cite anonymous "experts"

3. Mention they hold patents

4. Claim superiority over the competition

5. No concrete details mentioned

6. Claim to solve an incredibly difficult engineering problem

7. Claim to be starting mass production soon

8. Claim "high demand"

9. Claim to be partnered with large players in the field in question

[edit on 20-2-2006 by sardion2000]

posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 11:54 PM
It is healthy to express sceptisism and point out why you do not beleive the claims being made but there's no need to be angry about it.

Anyway, I think nanotechnology is going to lead to the biggest advances in photovoltaics.

This is the most interesting one I've heard of so far in that it not only offers better efficiency but it may also work in the dark.


Team leader Ted Sargent, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university, said the cell harnesses infrared light from the sun and can form a flexible film on the surface of cloth, paper or other materials.

And the film can turn 30 percent of the sun’s power into usable electrical energy — a far better performance than the 6 percent gleaned from the best plastic solar cells now in use.

So what happens if the sun doesn’t shine?

“There is obviously no power in the visible (light),” said Sargent. “But in the infrared, it’s not completely zero power. It doesn’t have to be as hot as the sun, but everything that’s warm, gives off some heat. Even people and animals give off heat. So there actually is some power remaining in the infrared even when it appears to us to be dark outside.”

After I read the above article I ordered a book by this guy called The Dance of Molecules : How Nanotechnology is Changing Our Lives.

It sounds really interesting.

This article below shows another possible solution:


The researchers are instead looking at titania nanotubes to replace the particulate coatings in dye sensitive solar cells and, their initial attempt produced about 3 percent conversion of solar energy to electricity, they report in today's issue of Nano Letters. The researcher's inability to grow longer titania nanotubes, constrained the solar conversion rate.

"I think we can reach a 15 percent conversion rate with these cells, and other researchers do as well," says Grimes. "That is 15 percent with a relatively easy fabrication system that is commercially viable."

Conventional solar cells are made from blocks of slowly made silicon boules that are sliced into wafers. Grimes and his team use an easier approach. They coat a piece of glass with a fluorine-doped tin oxide and then sputter on a layer of titanium. The researchers can currently lay down a 500-nanometer thick titanium layer. They then anodize the layer by placing it in an acidic bath with a mild electric current and titanium dioxide nanotube arrays grow to about 360 nanometers. The tubes are then heated in oxygen so that they crystalize. The process turns the opaque coating of titanium into a transparent coating of nanotubes.

This nanotube array is then coated in a commercially available dye. The dye-coated nanotubes make up the negative electrode and a positive electrode seals the cell which contains an iodized electrolyte. When sun shines through the glass, the energy falls on the dye molecules and an electron is freed. If this electron and others make their way out of the tube to the negative electrode, a current flows. Many electrons do not and are recombined, but the tube structure of the titanium dioxide allows an order of magnitude more electrons to make it to the electrode than with particulate coatings.

posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 12:13 AM
Sounds like someone in SA is trying to upstage the president's announcement today of a solar technology breakthrough.

Nanotech based solar cells have been under development for quite a while. Thanks for the article mentioning the paint, which I read about somewhere else about two years ago.

Also, you might find this link about using the surface of the moon to literally grade solar panels as wide as a road in one step. Proposed in 2000 by Alex Ignatiev of the University of Houston. This technology would take advantage of the vacuum to create the two bipolar layers needed to make the panel. here is the link:
and here
and here:

posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 01:53 AM
No it wont catch on unless the Gov can still make money from us. They want to supply us with all of our energy ( gas, etc ). The states wont be able to make $$$ any more & they wont like that.

posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 11:06 PM
I'm with you on that one. The powers that be don't seem to be too inclined to help out. Note however, the President on Monday said that every home would have a power generating capaility. Imagine that. He said it, now hold im too it.

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