“Moore meets solar”
November 15, 2011 Editor 0
Moore’s law states that the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. This trend has continued for more than 50 years and has been largely responsible for the hugh investments and stunning innovation in the IT sector.
The delivered costs of enery from Photovoltaics (PV) in the US was cut in half between 2008-2010. These costs are expected to drop again in the next coming two years, which would make solar power less expensive than retail electricity is about 18 States in the USA.
This has led some to predict that Moore’s Law would have the same impact on the energy industry as it did in the IT sector. Oil companies would invest more in alternative fuels and this would drive innovation. The expected drop in solar costs has “the potential to revolutionize the hub-and-spoke power system, which currently makes up the power industry,”one expert is quoted as saying.
Such developments would have implications for Africa. Since 1991 US 1.4 billion has been used to build Photovoltaic power stations across Africa. However, as evidence from South Africa shows, the cost of delivery remains higher than traditional energy from coal. South Africa is therefore waiting for the technology to advance to the stage where the price of PV equipment, installation and purchase is much lower, than the price of coal. This will make solar electricity a much more attractive proposition in the country in comparison to coal.
Perhaps, Moore’s Law can mark the end of this wait.
Francis Stevens George
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