By Laurence O Williams
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Additional info for An end to global warming
The initial capital cost of solar energy collection equipment, adequate to provide year around solar heating, is 3 to 5 times higher that a simple fossil fuel heat source. Because of its intermittent nature, a method of heat storage is essential for a solar heated home. A large portion of the cost of construction of full time solar heated houses is in the heat storage facility. This facility also takes a large space. Much effort must be expended to keep the solar collectors clean, as modest amounts of dirt dramatically reduce the collector's capability to efficiently collect energy.
The United States President George Bush was heaped with opprobrium for siding with big business. This thinking is based on the notion that big business forces us to purchase goods, drive cars and warm our houses. This notion is naive. Businesses get big by supplying the products we want. They are at our mercy. The steam engine manufacturers no longer build railroad equipment, not because of a management decision to stop, but because there was no longer a market for steam engines. The Coke-Cola Company spent a lot of money on product and advertising to introduce a new drink.
These systems are very expensive. Single crystal silicon cells have demonstrated efficiencies as high as 19%. These cells utilize single crystal silicon of a grade similar to that used in computer chips. As a result, they are relatively expensive. Potentially lower cost cells are being fabricated using continuously cast ribbons of silicon. Because of the lower purity and crystal structure irregularity, cast silicon ribbons cells are less efficient. They convert only 10 to 15% of the solar energy to electricity.