Solar skeptics are about to get a rude awakening.
At the moment, solar energy accounts for a meager 0.5% of global power generation. However, capacity is projected to jump from 16 gigawatts (GW) in 2009 to 1,864 GW in 2030 – a surge of more than 11,150%.
In dollar terms, industry revenue is estimated to catapult to $100 billion as early as 2014 – up 160%, compared to $38.5 billion in 2009.
Question is: How the heck are we going to get to that point?
Well, it helps that the government is on board. President Obama wants 80% of the United States to run on clean energy sources by 2035. And the Senate wants to create a new Clean Energy Deployment Administration, whose sole task will be to finance renewable energy projects.
Many solar initiatives are already underway, of course, with the latest being the Department of Energy approving a $737 million loan for a new 110-megawatt solar plant in Nevada.
Right now, though, there’s one big problem: cost.
Solar power costs between $220 and $300 per megawatt hour, compared to $63.10 for natural gas, $113.90 for nuclear and $136.20 for modern coal-fired plants, according to The Wall Street Journal.
So for solar to really pick up steam, we need to cut costs in half.
As my colleague, Matthew Weinschenk, points out, “What we’re looking for here is grid parity – that is, when the cost of a watt of solar energy is the same as the average from other sources. That’s expected to happen by 2020 at the latest, with some projections pegging it as soon as 2015.”
But one tiny company’s technology aims to get us to grid parity much sooner. Here’s why…
HyperSolar Proves That Size Doesn’t Matter
California-based HyperSolar (OTC: HYSR) doesn’t just make solar panels… it makes them uber-efficient.
Without getting too technical, the company designed the world’s first thin solar concentrator (about 1cm thick) that funnels sunlight directly to solar cells. Think of it as a mega powerful magnifying glass.
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Then, all solar manufacturers need to do is stack the film on top of the panel and presto… the technology amplifies solar power output by an astonishing 300%.
And that’s just the prototype.
By the time it’s commercially available, HyperSolar hopes to jack up the power magnification to 400%. That would cut the number of required solar cells per panel by 75%.
But how is it different from other solar-concentrating technologies out there? The company breaks its patent into four parts:
~ Micro Concentrators: The matrix of solar concentrators collect sunlight in a wide range. So there’s no need for active tracking equipment that other systems require.
~ Light Routing: Transports light from the micro concentrators to the cells.
~ Light Separation: Further enhances efficiency by separating sunlight into different spectrum ranges, which can then be sent to different types of solar cells.
~ Thermal Management: With traditional solar cells, unused electricity can turn into heat and degrade the cell’s performance. HyperSolar can filter out the unused energy to avoid this complication.
Cool? Yes. But does it make for a solid investment opportunity?
Another Way to Get Your Solar Fix
While the technology certainly has potential, HyperSolar deserves a place on the watch list for now, as it’s currently awaiting patent approval.
However, if you want an immediate solar investment, my colleague, Matthew Weinschenk, recently uncovered a company that has found another innovative way to get the most from solar cells.
Having recommended the stock to White Cap Report subscribers back in September, shares have launched 51% higher. What’s more, there’s plenty of room for further growth. To see the recommendation for yourself, just sign up for a trial subscription.