Solar Panels

WSJ writes:

Hampered by its high cost, solar power accounts for less than 1% of world-wide electricity generation. It costs 35 to 45 cents to produce a kilowatt hour of electricity from solar panels, compared with about three to five cents burning coal, according to the International Energy Agency. A different approach, known as concentrating solar power, uses huge arrays of mirrors or solar dishes to track the sun and collect its heat to make electricity. Yet even that costs nine to 12 cents to generate one kilowatt hour.

SolFocus is one of nearly a dozen start-ups competing alongside established solar giants like Japan’s Sharp Corp. to develop a solar panel that is both cheap and efficient. Well-known tech venture capitalists like Apax Partners, Benchmark Capital and US Venture Partners, as well as Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, have poured cash into solar start-ups in recent years. Meanwhile, established leaders in conventional solar panels like Sharp, the U.K.’s BP PLC and Germany’s Q-Cells AG have well-funded research labs working on their own technology.

The Information Economy

Techdirt has a post by Mike Masnick: “The ‘information economy’ is not about selling information — it’s about using information to make everything else more valuable. The problem is that many in the US believe that the information economy is about selling information, and that mistake explains many of the strategic mistakes made over the past few decades that we’ve been describing here. Unfortunately, as we’ve been noting, the US has bet so strongly on the idea of the information economy being about selling information that it’s pushing other countries to put laws in place that support the US’s position on this — and doing so under the false banner of “free trade.” The purpose of real free trade is that it’s beneficial to both parties through the efficiencies afforded by comparative advantage. In this case, however, these new protectionist policies are only beneficial to the US — and, as Cory notes, this means they’ll eventually be ignored. The benefit is too strong not to ignore them.”