There may be a silver lining to the current indignity of having to refinance your house every time you want to fill up your batmobile with dinosaur squeezins — according to a piece on Wired News, echoed on Treehugger, the solar cell market has (not surprisingly) gotten a boost as oil prices soar. A number of lead solar chip and panel companies have seen their stocks rise over the past year, from a couple of bucks a share to just under ten. Prices seem be slaved to those of oil, so when oil falls, so goes the solar cos. Still, hope springs eternal that this tech will finally get more attention, as oil and nat gas dependency bankrupts greater numbers of us little people.
It’s criminal to me that it’s the freakin’ 21st century and photovoltaic R&D and manufacturing is still so far from being “fast, cheap and out of control.” When I moved to DC in the ’80s, I had a scientist friend who’d come up with what looked like a very novel, maybe even doable way of more cheaply and easily manufacturing PV wafers. He couldn’t get R&D interest to save his soul. Okay, so maybe that was partially due to his eccentric mad-scientist persona, his disagreeable body odor, and the fact that he wanted to use chemicals that, if mishandled, could render entire neighborhoods uninhabitable, but still… Screw RFID tags, I want clothes, buildings, cars, and housepets that drink sunlight and fart direct current.