I am a techie person, I have always loved the idea of solar power, mostly cause it was so neat, you could power small portable devices wherever you go. But the cost of solar power has always made it a bad deal. Heck with normal solar cells it takes three years of use to produce as much energy as it takes to make the solar cell.
Let me share a bit on solar power. There are two basic types of solar power. The first is called Photovoltaic, where you convert sunlight directly into electricity. The second is a solar concentrator, this is where the energy is focused and used to heat water, or some other thing. Concentrator can be used to heat water for your house, cook for food outside in a solar oven or used to superheat water to turn a turbine and make electricity. It can be as simple as filling a water bottle with water, and placing it on a mirror in the sun for a day, producing clean potable water out of water that was toxic, this is used by millions in third world nations.
Most people are interested in photovoltaic technology, it is cool, and it produces what we need, ELECTRICITY. The key to wide adoption of these technologies is to lower the price of creating the power. Spain has over half of current photovoltaic power plants. But there is a new technology out there called nanosolar film technology where you basically can print a special ink on a plastic film and now you have a solar cell. This cell is flexible, able to produce power in lower light and off angles, is lightweight but MOST importantly it is less than 10% the cost of traditional solar power. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZOyhnlY0Hs]
This technology will allow anyone to pay once now to buy a solar array and save enough money in only 1-2 years to totally pay for it. Imagine being able to get cells that can product over a KW of power for a cost of less than $1000. Here is a company that is attaching this to metal roofing. Crazy. Already there are plans to build a powerplant using these that will 10 times larger than the current worlds largest solar plant. This is a very key technology that will change the world. You see the thing is that money has been king when it comes to power production, coal has been the cheapest but now they can build solar plants for less money than a coal plant, what will happen when a solar plan costs less to build, and almost nothing to operate, the free market will make it happen.
There are a few major problems though. The powers that be are either heavily invested in other types or power, or if they have invested in solar they are invested in the old expensive kinds. Even with this new technology most new plants, and new installs on houses are with the old technology. What we need is for this technology to dominate the market.