The following is an excerpt from a press release issued on September 23 by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg, Germany.
“The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Soitec, CEA-Leti and the Helmholtz Center Berlin jointly announced today having achieved a new world record for the conversion of sunlight into electricity using a new solar cell structure with four solar subcells. Surpassing competition after only over three years of research, and entering the roadmap at world class level, a new record efficiency of 44.7% was measured at a concentration of 297 suns. This indicates that 44.7% of the solar spectrum’s energy, from ultraviolet through to the infrared, is converted into electrical energy. This is a major step towards reducing further the costs of solar electricity and continues to pave the way to the 50% efficiency roadmap. . .
These solar cells are used in concentrator photovoltaics (CPV), a technology which achieves more than twice the efficiency of conventional PV power plants in sun-rich locations. The terrestrial use of so-called III-V multi-junction solar cells, which originally came from space technology, has prevailed to realize highest efficiencies for the conversion of sunlight to electricity. In this multi-junction solar cell, several cells made out of different III-V semiconductor materials are stacked on top of each other. The single subcells absorb different wavelength ranges of the solar spectrum.”
I found this press release interesting because it shows that there is ongoing progress in the rapidly growing solar industry. I have read a number of predictions that successful LENR production would mean the demise of the solar industry (and I have sometimes thought the same) but maybe is not as simple as that. At the moment we don’t know how long we will have to wait for LENR to start making a meaningful contribution, and if we are looking at a race between currently available renewables and LENR, the current alternative energy industry has a major head start.
Solar ‘grid parity’ (where the cost of solar energy, minus subsidies, is no more than electricity produced by conventional sources) is becoming a reality in many parts of the world, and there seems to be a growing momentum behind the proliferation of solar power.
There is a great deal of research going on in the solar industry today and much progress is being made in trying to harness the power of the sun. The industry is well established and the number of solar installations is growing rapidly. The price of producing photovoltaic cells is going down. Research is also ongoing in the field of energy storage which is an essential partner to solar (and other renewables) as a means to provide power when the sun is not shining.
Solar is being used increasingly for domestic power production and as far as I know there are no significant domestic safety certification issues to deal with as there are with LENR. There is tremendous financial and political investment in the solar and wind industries which could provide a great deal of inertia that LENR would have to overcome.
I am increasingly convinced of the reality and utility of E-Cat technology. Everything I have learned over the years and am currently hearing points to the fact that it is a major and highly important new discovery — but it will not appear in a vacuum. Andrea Rossi has consistently said that all energy sources will become integrated, with different sources being used where they are most suitable, and I suspect that he is right — at least for the near future.