March 1, 2010

Google's Mirror Could Cut Solar Costs in Half

CNBC reports that Google has developed a prototype for a new mirror technology that could cut the cost of building a solar thermal plant in half, the company's green energy czar said on Friday.

Bill Weihl said that if development and testing go well, he could see the product being ready in one to three years. "Things have progressed," Weihl said in an interview. "We have an internal prototype."

In solar thermal technology, the sun's energy is used to heat a substance that produces steam to run a turbine. Mirrors focus the sun's rays on the heated substance.

The Internet search engine company, which has been investing in companies and doing research of its own to produce affordable renewable energy, wants to cut the cost of making heliostats, the fields of mirrors that track the sun. "There is a decent chance that in a small number of years, we could have a 2-X reduction in cost," he said.

Next time you hear the naysayers telling you that solar power is too expensive, let them know that we are well on our way to cutting solar power costs in half just by the very fact that some smart people have started working on creating the future we want to live in.
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