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They like to quote from Lee Raymond's (CEO) May interview on PBS in which He said that one would need the entire state of New Jersey covered with solar cells to generate energy equal to the energy that is dispensed/sold in 1 year through 6 average xom service stations.

I hope this statement was a BIG jokes. Boeing (yes, the aircraft maker) produces solar cells (at Spectrolab) that have an average minimum efficiency of 28.3%.

http://www.spectrolab.com/

If 28.3% of the sunlight that hit NJ for a year is equal to the output of 6 average gas stations, that is some pretty powerful gasoline!

There are all kinds of solar cells and manufacturers. Look at this list:

http://www.solarbuzz.com/CellManufacturers.htm

The old days of a lot of research, and no product, is not the case. Now there are a few majors, many minors in prodcution, and a bunch of thin-film (mass manufaturing technology that will lead to low cost cells) R&D (exploration) companies.

Shell Solar has a CIS thin-film technology in production that is 13% efficient:

http://www.shell.com/home/Framework?siteId=shellsolar&FC2=/shellsolar/html/iwgen/leftnavs/zzz_lhn2_1_0.html&FC3=/shellsolar/html/iwgen/about_shell/facts_1129.html

So, it is about time to stop the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) on solar. If you look at the following links the cost reality is very clear (it's not competitive without subsidies) but its prices are falling every year.

For those wanting an overview of the marketplace, try this:

http://www.solarbuzz.com/StatsCosts.htm

Solar is not to replace oil (except in Hawaii where oil is used to make electricity). You cannot make chemicals from solar and no car company has an all-electric battery-operated car in the works. Natural gas use could flatten if solar was widely used because gas is the fuel of choice for new electricity plants (although coal is starting to get attention now that NG has gone up).

Solar production is quite small. To have an impact, it would need to be ramped up rapidly. The ramp-up has not started and would not yield a big result even after 5 years. Talking it down only causes the uninformed to make an inaccurate assumption about solar and its potential.

Solar is an industry with a variety of products with a variety of efficiencies. If you looked at 10 year old cells (obsolete product by today's standards), then maybe the NJ quote might start to make sense. But, to make such a broad statement, is just uneducated.

One other point. Solar warranties are for 20 years -- and cells are expected to last 30 or more years. Pump that gas and once it is burned it is gone. Solar keeps right on producing year after year.

Gasoline is a great product. We need it. We need hybrids and other products that allow us to use the product more efficently.
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