With the introduction of two thin-film cells, General Electric has taken a big step into solar energy, going to show just how important the market is becoming.
The thin-film cells improve the efficiency of current solar cells and also promise to make them more financially viable, meaning that more people should be able to afford to get them installed in the near future. This is in fact the major stumbling block for a lot of people, the cost of the initial installation. With the savings that will be made on energy bills once the panels have been installed, not to mention the money-generating feed-in tariff program, the initial costs are the only thing that prevent most people from getting them installed.
Any reduction in the cost of the solar panels therefore is likely to see a large increase in the number of people who make a commitment to solar energy. It is pretty much universally known by now that fossil fuels cannot last forever, especially at a price that makes them cost-effective. Meanwhile, as we continue to report, the technology for solar energy continues to be improved in terms of its efficiency as well as its power output, and of course at the same time costs are being lowered.
And this is all happening very fast. Indeed, the new development by GE is already being put into production, in partnership with Prime Star Solar and the technology should be out on the market as early as next year. In addition, GE has also signed a deal with Japanese firm Solar Frontier to develop thin film cells made from copper, indium, gallium and diselenide (CIGS cells).
But they have not stopped there, showing their true commitment to solar energy. One of the problems with large solar farms is that the output cannot be properly controlled, meaning that they cannot really operate in the same way as a normal power plant. Well, GE are changing all of that with the introduction of the Brilliance Solar Inverter. By using this, the output from a solar power plant will be able to be controlled, making solar farms more viable as an energy generator.
This is one of the great things about solar energy, it works at a very large scale and on a very small scale. Power can be generated by households individually, or power can be generated collectively at a solar energy farm. The technology can be very small, with thin-film devices and it can even use nano-technology, which is currently in development in various places around the world. And it is going towards solving the biggest problems that we have, that of making sure our planet remain inhabitable and is not destroyed by pollutants.
Whichever way you look at it therefore, environmentally, scientifically or financially, solar energy is rapidly coming into its own as one of the most important and beneficial markets on the planet. And one of the best things about it is that anyone can get involved, saving money and saving the Earth.