I once read a Richard Branson book where he talked about there being no such thing as an original idea – as soon as you come up with something brilliant you can guarantee that another 5 or 6 people did simultaneously… all that matters is who gets it to market first.
So on the assumption that I’m not the first [I haven’t researched it so if someone else has written about this then it’s purely my coincidence], I’m giving it away anyway ; >
During the past few weeks there has been some media coverage about a recent CSIRO consortia development that I think has the potential to turn the entire existing rooftop solar industry on its head – printable photovoltaics.
Printable PVs aren’t hot off the press [sorry] per se, however this team’s focus is to develop the tech to make the printing achievable at a domestic scale and accessible to all. They’re already up to an A3 size printed PV sheet – the printer literally prints the circuitry onto an A3 size sheet of flexible plastic.
So – my idea? If this trend continues we’ll see a few things happen;
- the printing technology will become smaller and more economical[miniaturisation] making it more mobile;
- the printers will soon be able to churn out larger sheets, say B1 size, literally great long strips of PVs that can be draped over anything;
- the product will become increasingly cheap to produce [they’re already predicting $1/W but I think it will go much lower] – it’s the ‘cheaper production trumps better efficiency’ model;
So potentially in about 5-7 years from now, you’ll be able to dial up ‘Sol’s PV printing services’. They’ll arrive out the front with their van all decked out with PV printer, connection plug’n’play kit, and samples. You’ll zap over some credit and they’ll hit the print button – sending out reams of PV cells which the team will install directly onto your home as you watch. The hardest bit will be holding the lightweight PVs down so they don’t blow away.
We’ll no doubt also be able to hire a 3D PV printer for the day to do just the same thing [if we haven’t yet bought our own printer].
Think cheap as chips. Think franchise. Think the home solar reno you’ve always wanted but couldn’t afford.
The booming development of solar tech is simply amazing, ranging from solar PV spheres and paper prints through to wearable PV fabric and even ‘moonlight harvesters’. We really are in the midst of a wild and clean frontier and it’s an exciting time to be alive.
If anyone does set up this mobile PV printer business, I bags riding shotgun on your first delivery.