Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Moore's Law is NOT Applicable to Solar Panels

The American Spectator: Paul Krugman Flunks Moore's Law, By William Tucker

"Moore's Law is about information, not energy. The reason computer chips have gotten smaller and smaller is that we keep using less and less energy to store the same amount of information. Think of each logic gate as a light bulb that can be turned on and off to represent a "1" or a "0." The original computers used vacuum tubes that consumed lots of electricity. Now we use transistors printed on microscopic circuit boards that require only the faintest electrical current. We may eventually get down to the level of individual electrons, but the point is that all this is accomplished by using smaller and smaller energy differentials to represent the ones and zeroes.When you go looking for energy, however, you can't do that. You can't go down, down, down into the microcosm using less and less energy to produce more and more energy or even the same amount of energy. Energy is energy. You're stuck with what's available.With solar energy this is all very easy to calculate. The average amount of solar energy falling on a square meter of earth is 400 watts. It will never be any different. With present technology, we can convert 25 percent of this to electricity. This means powering a 100-watt light bulb on a space the size a card table. If we could raise this conversion to 35 percent -- a 40 percent increase -- it would be a technological marvel. That's a lot different than doubling every two years."

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