More promise for solar breakthroughs

Sample 3D Modules
Sample 3D Modules Credit: Allegra Boverman

The 3D solar towers being developed by MIT illustrate just how much further we have to go in stretching the still new technology of solar power. These experimental towers are up to 20 times as efficient as today’s flat roof panels.

If the British Government needed any further evidence that the plans for Hinkley Point are misguided, this should give them pause. Guaranteeing to pay three times today’s price for electricity for the next 30 years against a backdrop of dramatic increases in efficiency of solar power (which has already reached price parity in many places at today’s prices) is lunacy.

I would be tempted to conclude that the decision is ideological, but I just can’t see how a Conservative government getting into bed with a French state utility and the Chinese Government to make their white elephant a reality gels with the Conservative free market philosophy. Perhaps it is simply that having large grey boxes hidden away on the coasts are easier on the eye than rooftop solar panels and windfarms? Who knows.

2 thoughts on “More promise for solar breakthroughs”

  1. Jim great post, I was having the conversation just today with someone about the lunacy of backing technology that will be outdated by the time the plant actually goes online. There are also several smaller scale nuclear power station models that could be built in a fraction of the time at considerably lower costs so why back Hickley? Also we need to consider what advances might be taking place in other renewables……if you want a definition of madness Hickley might just be the perfect one.

  2. Couldn’t agree more, Jim. If they quote the usual ‘reliability’ argument in defence, hopefully one day they might also notice a large rocky thing orbiting the planet that very reliably heaves around a huge swell of water to a known timetable, creating potential energy (using the physics term) that known technologies can exploit.

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