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24 Nov 2008 05:11:23

Solar energy 'cheaper than fossil fuels in 5 years'



Solar energy 'cheaper than fossil fuels in 5 years'
Solar energy will be cheaper than the equivalent energy from fossil fuels in almost every situation in five years, according to futurist Ray Kurzweil.

Speaking to Silicon.com, the author of The Age of Intelligent Machines, said that nanotechnology could help solve the world's energy crisis and make solar technology cheaper.

"The crossover of the tipping point where solar energy will be less expensive than fossil fuels in almost every situation is within five years," he told the publication.

Nanotechnology is helping make solar panels more efficient, he said, and noted that the amount of electricity generated by solar power has doubled every two years for the last 20 years.

If it continues at the same rate, in 16 years time, solar power will meet 100 per cent of energy needs, he said.

Meanwhile, scientists at the Future Chips Constellation at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York have devised a non-reflective coating for solar panels which means they absorb a greater portion of the sunlight.

Using seven layers between 50 and 100 nanometers high, the scientists have managed to raise panels' absorption from just over two thirds to 96.21 per cent.

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