THE BLOG
10/15/2014 05:54 pm ET Updated Dec 15, 2014

The Sun Shines Brightly on Solar Energy

Renewable power from solar energy has always made sense to me. The improvements to this technology continue to grow at lightning speed. The International Energy Agency predicted it might well be the most promising and largest source of electricity on the globe by 2050. Accelerated advances in this technology may just make this hope a reality.

There's some exciting news out of Cambridge University regarding a groundbreaking approach to cranking up the efficiency of solar cells. Researchers and scientists predict this new method "could smash the solar efficiency ceiling."

The new breed of solar cells consists of both organic and inorganic properties. Typically, the majority of solar cells are constructed from inorganic silicon semiconductors, which fall short of the efficiency of organic types, composed of pentacene. Silicon has only been able to stimulate one electron, whereas pentacene provides the exact quantity of light releasing two electrons, which doubles the production of the semiconductor. Previously, while hybrid solar cells had the potential to achieve high power conversion efficiencies, production was low, but studies now show up to 95 percent in energy-efficiency.

Converting sunlight into energy has taken a back seat to wind and hydroelectric powers, with hydroelectric dominating about 50 percent of the alternative energy market. The more options the better as competition is healthy and supply and demand will have prices going down to be affordable for most consumers.

Germany, one of the biggest energy consumers on the planet, is clearly the clean energy leader, as nearly one-third of its power consumption is generated by renewables -- solar, wind, hydro and biomass. While China is the only other nation producing clean energy as quickly and efficiently, it's collection of polluting coal and gas plants continues to grow. Go figure.

There is no such thing as power to spare in our world today, yet overconsumption continues, despite warnings and encouragement to cut down on electricity usage. Just last month in L.A., the insufferable heat wave in the triple digits amped up the demand for electricity so high that blackouts were experienced all over the city. Thousands of people were without service and the ante was raised over the next several days as temperatures continued to soar.

This is just one example of the importance of the promise where renewables is concerned -- and why any technique which produces energy instead of wasting it has my green seal of approval.