Big News in Solar Technology

Goldman Sachs Commits Billions and More Good News on Solar Power

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New developments with "biosolar" are in the works, which will allow scientists to capture energy the same way plants do.

Environmentalists who are passionate about a switch to solar power and other forms of renewable energy in America don’t always have a lot to celebrate.  Thanks to steep tariffs placed on China by our government, there’s been much to indicate that advancements in solar energy may, in fact, stall out for a while.  And news such as the failure of Solyndra makes the future of renewable energy seem dismal.  But several recent stories all point to brighter, more energy-efficient days ahead.  A recent commitment announced by Goldman Sachs is among the good-news stories concerning solar power.

Goldman invested $4.8 billion dollars in green technologies last year and has now made a commitment to invest $40 billion over the next decade.  While it represents a decline from 2011’s total, $4 billion annually is nothing to complain about.  Consider this:  An investment promise Goldman made amounting to $1 billion in 2005 grew to eventually total $24 billion six years later.

As a multi-billion dollar company, Goldman understands how to invest money wisely.  The corporation expects to realize profits from money spent on advancing wind, solar, and biomass power.  The most inexpensive renewable energy is conservation, and Goldman is sinking funds into that area, as well.

Much of the delay in making discoveries related to renewable energy is linked to politics and the powerful oil industry, but researchers are advancing the environmentally friendly renewable energy agenda.  The following is just some of the good news in recent solar technology developments coming from laboratories across America:

  • An organic plastic semiconductor which is projected to allow for doubly efficient plastic solar cells as compared to current systems has been crafted at the University of Texas.
  • A new solar cell-making process has come out of the University of Chicago, and it’s as easy to accomplish as soaking a substrate in a semiconductor solution and drying it.  To top it off, these new cells aren’t limited to visible light; they can produce electricity from infrared energy.
  • A three-dimensional panel array has come out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  The array is capable of handling many more panels and of harvesting a great deal more energy per square meter than any technology currently available on the market.
  • Solar cell efficiency has also been doubled by Semprius of North Carolina, with a solar cell that has 33 percent efficiency.
  • The University of Tennessee is working on a project which, if successful, will represent huge savings on the cost of solar materials.  The “biosolar” system will use the same system plants use to harvest energy.
solar power, solar energy

Scientists are discovering new ways to utilize the power of the sun.

America isn’t the only country making great strides in advancing sources of renewable energy.  Consider these breakthroughs out of Sweden and Switzerland:

  • Scientists in Sweden are building a catalyst which breaks water into oxygen and hydrogen so efficiently, the hydrogen will be useful as fuel.
  • An experimental solar-powered airplane out of Switzerland called Solar Impulse has completed its first intercontinental flight, traveling from Switzerland to Brussels using only solar energy and without the help of even an ounce of fuel.  The plane is scheduled to make its first around-the-world solar-powered journey in 2013.

The switch from dirty energy to clean, renewable energy isn’t happening as quickly as it would if greed and politics didn’t get in the way, but at least the green light is beginning to come on with recent advances in solar technology.

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