Thin-Film Clobbering non-Renewables?

So to paraphrase this Treehugger article, solar energy is awesome, but honestly, too expensive right now for mass adoption. But apparently a spokesman for this Swiss thin-film solar company predicts that this new kind of solar panel will be cost-effective in less than five years, and be twice as good as non-renewables in ten. As Treehugger says, “That’s what is technically referred to as clobbering.”

Current solar panels are made using silicon, which is expensive. Thin-film technology instead uses a type of manufactured semiconductor material called CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide), which is less expensive. The solar cells made with it can be printed onto material, which is chemically and financially more efficient than the process for creating silicon cells.

Sounds good, no? It certainly does give one hope, but I hold a few skepticisms. First, spokespeople making predictions certainly have motive to exaggerate the quickness of innovation timelines. Second, it would be good to see a substantial revamping of our energy system sooner than five years from now. That’s asking a lot, true. This is a message of hope, indeed.

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