Up until now, the story of the energy market has always been one about commodity supply and demand. Basically, it’s been all about fuel sources rather than actual energy production. Oil, coal, natural gas, refined petroleum products, have had the same market relation to investors as minerals, food, and any other type of commodity extracted or grown from the ground. All mechanical and technological development for centuries was slaved to fuel supply and demand. That picture has now changed. The development of solar power is the direct application of scientific invention to solve the problem of powering human civilization. Solar power and other renewable energy generation technologies directly exploit natural forces to produce electricity. Solar is particularly a key development since it utilizes sunlight, an effectively inexhaustable source of power compared to the alternatives.
Ever since solar power began to make significant inroads into the energy markets, its growth has been phenomenal. Driven both by general market as well as environmental factors, and governmental policies in multiple nations, solar PV systems have begun to reach grid parity. This means declining cost in comparison with conventional power production methodologies based upon dirty carbon-based fuels. This shifts the energy market picture from a story of commodity to that of technology: with falling prices for systems facilitating increasing market penetration and eventual upward growth in profitability. In market terms, it’s the same situation as has been the case with consumer and industrial electronics and production machinery.
The main problems to be solved with solar power systems are twofold: backup storage for times when solar radiation is not available for harvesting, and increasing efficiency in harvesting that radiation for useable electrical production. The first part of that equation is being addressed by ongoing research into battery development. The second part of the equation, which concerns readers here, is the focus of intense scientific investigation into materials and panel design best suited to gaining the maximum yield. The information from this page points out a game-changing breakthrough in the use of iron and nanostructured titanium dioxide instead of the expensive metal ruthenium as the basis for the components performing solar capture and conversion. This has the promise of dramatically lowering the production cost of PV panels while also achieving twice the conversion efficiencies in present day systems. Meeting this goal will change energy markets and human civilization, as well as investment strategy, in ways undreamed of in any previous era.