Chasing Sunbeams: Taming the Sun and Solar Energy

A new book, Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet, is available from MIT Press.  The book touts the wonders of solar energy and tells us that there is an urgent need to invest trillions in more solar energy.  The book is filled with outright errors.  The author, Varun Sivaram, has a boundless faith in technical progress that he thinks will make solar cheaper and more practical. Since solar cells and integrated circuits are both manufactured using silicon wafers, the author assumes that something like Moore's Law must apply to solar cells.  Moore's law predicts the halving of the price of integrated circuits every 18 months or so.  But integrated circuits become cheaper because they become smaller, taking less real estate on the wafer.  However, solar cells don't become smaller, because they need to collect sunlight, and the amount of energy they collect is...(Read Full Article)

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