Discovery may spur cheap solar power

If the oil-companies don't do what they usually do - buy the patent and
prevent production from going ahead.


Discovery may spur cheap solar power
Thursday, October 2, 2003

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) -- A major European chip maker said this week it had
discovered new ways to produce solar cells which will generate electricity
twenty times cheaper than today's solar panels. STMicroelectronics,
Europe's largest semiconductor maker, said that, by the end of next year,
it expected to have made the first stable prototypes of the new cells,
which could then be put into production.

Most of today's solar cells, which convert sunlight into electricity, are
produced with expensive silicon, the same material used in most
semiconductors. The French-Italian company expects cheaper organic
materials such as plastics to bring down the price of producing energy.
Over a typical 20-year life span of a solar cell, a single produced watt
should cost as little as $0.20, compared with the current $4.