We hear a lot about grid parity, don’t we? That’s the point at which the cost of energy generated by solar, wind, and other renewables is the same as that generated from conventional sources. The author of this article on Sharp Electronics new 43.5%-efficient solar cell writes: “Sharp shattered the efficiency record with its concentrator triple-junction compound solar cell, which uses a lens-based system to focus sunlight directly onto the cells in order to generate electricity.” Then he adds, “This latest breakthrough puts solar power one step closer to grid parity.”
I’m not complaining, btw. The mere fact that the term is rapidly becoming a part of the world’s everyday lexicon is proof that more people are tuning into this important discussion.
And let’s not ignore the elephant in the room: In energy, cost is a very big deal. 2GreenEnergy Associate Dr. Peter Lilienthal, whose software is used to integrate renewables onto grids in more than 80 countries, once told me, “If you don’t care how much you pay for it, I’ll find you all the clean energy you could use in a thousand lifetimes.” The guy has a way with words.
In any case, grid parity here we come.