By Patricia Daukantas
This year’s OSA congressional caucus briefing covered an extremely timely topic: solar energy. Last Friday, several policy analysts and industry representatives touted the benefits of both photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies to congressional staff members.
Doug Hall, director of PV technologies for Corning Inc., explained to the Capitol Hill audience how PV devices work and how they have evolved from wafered silicon to thin-film panels. Nanotechnology, organic materials and flexible substrates—all of which have been described in OPN over the past few years—could eventually bring greater efficiency and lower costs.
CSP, on the other hand, uses reflecting troughs, reflecting dishes, Fresnel lenses or similar devices to direct incoming solar energy to a single place such as a power plant. The technology makes it easier to store the energy for use during cloudy days or at night, according to Chuck Kutscher of the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Other speakers addressed federal and private-sector investments in the various types of solar systems. OSA, who co-hosted the event with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, has posted the viewgraphs from the congressional briefing on its Web site.
2008-07 July, Energy