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Old 11-26-2007, 11:22 PM   #16
Steven Lyle Jordan
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Say Steve, if you're interested, I've got links to blogs and podcasts on green energy. Some of them have talked specifically about the artificial solar cell shortage and qualify it as hogwash. No offense to you and the information you communicated, I hold you in high regards. This is a subject that raises my blood pressure in no time.
That's the first I've heard of that opinion (and no offense taken). I have a hard time believing that lack of solar cells is due to any big conspiracy, but I'll listen to them when I get a chance (hopefully sometime before Christmas, at this rate!).
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Old 11-27-2007, 10:47 AM   #17
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That's the first I've heard of that opinion (and no offense taken). I have a hard time believing that lack of solar cells is due to any big conspiracy, but I'll listen to them when I get a chance (hopefully sometime before Christmas, at this rate!).
It is not a conspiracy. What happened is that there was a big demand 2 years ago for solar panels. At that point the producing centers for pure silicon were backed up but they have built two more centers which have now started production. As a trafic jam, such productions have not yet cleared the piled backlog. This is the time where greedy hands get at work. The Chinese have their own facilities and have now flooded the market with smaller cells. Are they expensive? No. The pricey and, quote, 'rare' solar panels commodities are only the ones for home electricity. Just go figure why. After all a solar panel is just an assembly of small cells.
There is an interesting podcast interview with the head of a manufacturer about the whole mess, that is quite interesting.
Those tpodcasts are long and last from anywhere between 15 to 90 minutes each. I put them on a pod and listen to them while working, driving or cleaning.
Two other podcasts of interest are: Autoblog green and The Watt Weekly
Those three together makes for roughly 200 hours of listening. If you're passionate about the subject, as I am, it is pure pleasure to set time aside for them. Try also Home Power Magazine. The current monthly issue is available on site in pdf, and all previous ones can be had on a cd rom they sell. Believe me if you're a tinkerer you'll love them.

There is an other solar panel on the way that is about 1% less efficient energy wise but it is flexible and can be made to be a roofing material at 80% the cost of actual solar panels. The reason is less handling but add to that the benefit of no prior roof installation required and they really become interesting. With those, today's monocrystalline panels are dead.
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Old 11-27-2007, 11:27 AM   #18
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In fact, I do subscribe to Home Power magazine, and I've been interested in solar cells for the home since 1975. I've been actively investigating the possibility of applying them to my home since 2000.

I knew about the solar cell backlog, but not the Chinese cell production. (Apparently, based on their heavy use of coal for power generation, and the resultant choking pollution in much of the country, neither are the Chinese.) I knew Japanese Honda was gearing up for production of non-silicon-based cells, but they plan to sell exclusively to the Japanese market, at least at first.

It's definitely disconcerting that other nations that might develop alternatives to oil-based energy systems might withhold them from the US, just when we're trying to convert from oil. What's even more disconcerting would be if American concerns are blocking US interests, based on their personal profit concerns.

Say... have we digressed from the subject a bit?...
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Old 11-27-2007, 11:34 AM   #19
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Anytime Steve!
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Old 11-27-2007, 12:55 PM   #20
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In fact, I do subscribe to Home Power magazine, and I've been interested in solar cells for the home since 1975. I've been actively investigating the possibility of applying them to my home since 2000.
JR (the actor not character) of Dallas fame got a solar energy system for his Texas ranch since his electricity bills were ~30k year and since he puts electricity back into the grid he got a 300k one-time credit from the local energy company.

The problem: he put 700k in the system and considering maintenance (not a lot but still..) it's going to be a while until it pays for itself...

As pretty much anyone outside the oil industry, I would like to see alternative energy as soon as possible, but it's not so easy...
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Old 11-27-2007, 01:18 PM   #21
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The problem: he put 700k in the system and considering maintenance (not a lot but still..) it's going to be a while until it pays for itself...
Yeah, that's my disconnect: I don't have half the cost of my house to spend on the system experts say I'd need, to get a payoff within 30 years. I'm glad Larry Hagman can manage it, but I don't have Larry's or JR's bank account!

Anyway, I'm holding out hope for the non-silicon-based cells to hit the market at significantly lower prices. I hope that, when it comes time to re-tile my roof, I'll be able to put solar tiles up there on 50% or more of its surface.
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Old 11-27-2007, 02:30 PM   #22
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700k for solar panels?!? What did he live in, a factory? Oh, forgot! Gold plated.

That's the beauty of the panels I mentionned earlier, when your roof shingles are due for replacement you can cover the roof with solar panels; they do double duty. And since it's like rebuilding the roof, the cost can be added to the mortgage.

If you do install them, for many reasons, it's better to go off grid.

BTW I'm reading Evoguia. Good so far. See, that's matter for MR and so was mentioning Home Power PDFs. When we get a decent PDF reader I'll purchase that CD ROM.
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:48 PM   #23
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Glad you're enjoying Evoguia!

It's so hard to say whether we'll see a reader price war... a lot depends on whether people feel that the readers are the best way to read e-books, or if they show that they just want the e-books for other devices (like PDAs and smartphones). So far, no one has demonstrated the ability (or inclination) to bring their readers down significantly in price. If Kindle takes off, the other e-book readers could simply throw in the towel and cater directly to Kindle or alternative device consumers.

We may see a price war on the e-books themselves, if sellers feel the need to compete with Amazon for market share of content.
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Old 11-28-2007, 04:58 AM   #24
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The coming price war?

Well, that set the cat amongst the pidgeons!

Reading all the views I conclude the following:

(1) Given the current tech spec and market size we are unlikely to see much of a downward price shift in 2008. Prices for a reasonably spec'ed eBook device will average at around £200 (US$400).

(2) If we have a steadily growing market here will be a move to improve the tech specs to dynamic graphics and colour with prices probably slightly above the current prices. This is unlikely to happen in 2008.

(3) The likely impact of the Amazon Kindle is as yet unknown. Some commentators felt that just maybe they will have market dominance and cause other suppliers to shift the whole shooting match along Amazon's way of thinking.

(4) We live in exciting times!

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Old 11-28-2007, 10:10 AM   #25
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The biggest factor for prices kept high is that there are no clones yet.
Everything is still subject to R&D throughout this budding evolution cycle, and we all know cloners don't touch that because their turnaround is measured in years. Add Babel format war and cloners will not go for an undefined market. The biggies have it good so far and will try their best to keep it that way; why do you think they lock their books to their devices?
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Old 11-28-2007, 03:28 PM   #26
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What makes you believe that there's likely to be a price war, A.J.? When, for example, Bookeen can sell all the Gen3's they can make for £245, what incentive is there to lower the price? I rather think that, at present, this is a rather specialist market in which price is not the most important factor in many peoples' minds.
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Old 11-28-2007, 03:50 PM   #27
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How are we to get kids involved in ebooks?
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Old 11-28-2007, 03:59 PM   #28
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Most children are not, in my experience, very keen readers. I think it's an interest which tends to develop in many people with increasing maturity. I'm not sure that there is a significant market for children's eBook readers.
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Old 11-28-2007, 04:13 PM   #29
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Sorry, I used kids as a general term for non adults. Twelve to eighteen year old kids do read a lot, sometimes more than adults because they have the time. I remember having a teacher that gave me serious reads for my age at the time.
Btw My kids are 23 and 25. Being busy with staying alive, just above poverty line, they can't afford the high prices of readers. How about them, do you really think that readers should be for rich people only?
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Old 11-28-2007, 04:15 PM   #30
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Most children are not, in my experience, very keen readers.
I don't know about most, but my son reads all the books he can lay his hands on, and it's seems we can't provide enough
And he is only 6 years old... agreed, it's only child-books of 80 pages with huge fonts, but still, he reads something like 4 of those per week...
And he is definitively not the only one like this around.
Since I got my sony reader, he has shown a real interest about it (too much of an interest as I won't let him have it ).
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