Honda announced today that it is entering the solar cell market starting 2007. Honda's solar cell technology appears to be non silicon based and it claims to be easier and efficient to manufacture. Read more here
I feel Honda's entry into the market signals a maturing of the technology and the market. Although, the operating efficiency of a solar cell still has ways to go. On an average, I think the operating efficiency of a solar cell is somewhere around 15-20%.
While on the topic of operating efficiency, the Defense agency DARPA made news recently when they decided to fund a University of Delaware led project that aims to create Very High Efficiency Solar Cells (VHESC) with operating efficiency reaching 50%
Just to put things in perspective, a thermal power plant I believe operates at efficiencies of 34 -38%
Quote of the day
"The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun"~ Ralph Nader (via brainyquote.com)