Just the yesterday I was reading discussion about the expense of solar power opposed to coal plants and how solar will never be as cheap as coal; and then I found out that Nanosolar, a Silicon Valley company funded by the founders of google, has announced that it has shipped it’s first solar panels. Why is this a big deal?
Our product is defining in more ways I can enumerate here but includes:
– the world’s first printed thin-film solar cell in a commercial panel product;
– the world’s first thin-film solar cell with a low-cost back-contact capability;
– the world’s lowest-cost solar panel – which we believe will make us the first solar manufacturer capable of profitably selling solar panels at as little as $.99/Watt;
– the world’s highest-current thin-film solar panel – delivering five times the current of any other thin-film panel on the market today and thus simplifying system deployment;
– an intensely systems-optimized product with the lowest balance-of-system cost of any thin-film panel – due to innovations in design we have included.
Breaking the $1 per watt barrier is important; that means that it is possible to build a solar system that is cheaper than a coal plant.
The first solar panel off the line will be kept at the company headquarters for exhibit, the third will be donated to the tech museum in San Jose, and the 2nd was to be auctioned to the general public on eBay. That’s where Nanosolar hit a bit of a snag. When it became obvious that the bidding was going to be through the rough for this historic piece of equipment Nanosolar did the decent thing and decided to donate the proceeds from the auction to Charity. eBay however promptly canceled the auction because of some needlessly cryptic rule on charity auctions. After a short battle between Nanosolar’s legal team and eBay’s drones Nanosolar decided that they would just hang on to the number 2 solar panel and go back to making clean energy. Once again bureaucracy triumphs over the best of intentions.