Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bay Area Solar Companies Become More Popular, As Costs Drop

Earlier this week came word that Southern California Edison would be buying electricity from seven solar power plants that will be built by two Bay Area companies. This is becoming a trend now that the technology is more affordable. It’s a change that has come about in the last five to seven years. “Many solar plants that were built previously were using a technology called solar-thermal, where sunlight is concentrated down to heat and water, and then basically makes a steam turbine,” said Paul Alivisatos, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He said that in the new solar power plants, photovoltaic technology will be used. “That is where the sunlight is used to create a current inside a semi-conductor,” said Alivisatos. “It’s really a more advanced technology in some ways.” More>