century energy systems should be uninteresting attack targets, and when theyfail, fail gracefully, not catastrophically. (According to congressional documents, a largereactor accident would cause $300 billion in damage).
And they certainly shouldn’t bedual-use civilian-military facilities that pose ever-present risks and threats. In sharpcontrast, PV power is the perfect 21
century energy system. Tellingly, a kilogram of silicon in a solar cell will generate as much electricity as a kilogram of radioactiveplutonium in a reactor, but not require millennia of storage protection againstcontamination at the end of its useful life.
know that PV is not land limited. Even with today’s 10%efficient PV modules
of America’s annual electricity
fuels consumption could begenerated on an area the same size as currently dedicated to US military bases (30 millionacres).
It also has been estimated that nearly 60% of U.S. electricity could be satisfiedthrough Building-Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) solar systems, which not only supplyelectricity but also serves as façade and cladding materials of the building, displacingcosts for polished stone or aluminum panels.
Nor is the current high cost of PV a fixed reality. PV costs declined 60-fold since the1960s. To compete against all other sources of electricity will require an additional six-to 10-fold reduction. It is unimaginable that this will not be accomplished in theunfolding revolutionary era of nanotechnology, solid-state electronic innovations andbiomaterial advances.
Indeed, one of the most exciting potential breakthroughs for dramatically lowering PVmanufacturing costs was detailed in the October 2004 NREL-sponsored study by HPengineer Marvin Keshner and former BP solar engineer Rajeev Arya.
The key toachieving competitive PV systems (i.e., $1 per Watt fully installed) is to use a similarcluster production model employed so successfully in achieving breakthrough costreductions and extraordinary productivity gains in Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)manufacturing.
Sandia National Lab report, 1982, released by U.S. Congressman Edward Markey, SubcommitteeChairman, Energy and Commerce Committee, in 1982$.
Robert Willams, Princeton Center for Energy & Environmental Studies, 1988
Dispelling the 7 Myths of Solar Electricity
, 2001, National Renewable Energy Lab,www.nrel.gov/docs/fy01osti/30280.pdf .
PV as a Major Source of Global Electricity
, Feb. 24, 2004, National Renewable EnergyLab,www.nrel.gov/ncpv/thin_film/general.html.
Arthur J. Nozik,
Third Generation Solar Photon Conversion: High Efficiency through Multiple ExcitonGeneration in Quantum Dots
, presentation, Rice University, Energy & Nanotech Workshop, Oct. 17, 2004,http://cnst.rice.edu/conference_energy.cfm?doc_id=5168; Arthur J. Nozik,
Advanced Concepts for Photovoltaic Cells
, Center for Basic Sciences, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Nation Center forPhotovoltaics (NCPV) and Solar Program Review Meeting 2003, NREL/CD-520-33586,www.nrel.gov/ncpv;
2003 Peer Review of the DOE Photovoltaic Subprogram
, September 2003,www.eere.doe.gov/ .
M.S. Keshner and R. Arya,
Study of Potential Reductions Resulting from Super-Large-Scale Manufacturing of PV Modules
, National Renewable Energy Lab Report NREL/SR-520-36846, October2004,http://www.nrel.gov/ncpv/thin_film/ .