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Posted by Michael A. Terrell on June 3, 2010, 9:49 am

Spehro Pefhany wrote:


Anyone wanting to run for any political office in the US should have to
have a DD214, and a honorable discharge.

Posted by Bill Sloman on June 2, 2010, 1:03 pm

The "economies of scale" aren't just the simple stuff, such as when
you ship 100,000 units a year it becomes worth your while to put most
of the electronics into an ASIC. It covers the sort of developments
where people think that the market is big enough to justify developing
a completely different way of making solar cells.

This sort of development is highly speculative and costs tens to
hundreds of millions of dollars by the time you've turned it into a
production line - nobody invests that kind of money until they are
pretty confident about the eventual market.

Economists don't understand any of the technical details - they just
know that as the market for a product expands, the unit cost tends to
halve for every ten-fold expansion in production volume.

The first computer I ever worked with hands-on was a PDP-8. It cost
something like ten times what I was being paid per year at the time.
Nowadays there are single chip processors that are moe powerful that
sell for about what I'd earn in a minute if I could persuade someone
to hime me. Solar panels need area in a way that processors don't, but
they are going to get a lot cheaper to make and a lot easier to mount
(perhaps as stick-on films).

Bill Sloman, Nijmegen

Posted by Sylvia Else on June 3, 2010, 7:37 am
 On 2/06/2010 11:03 PM, Bill Sloman wrote:

Inventing a different technology is not an economy of scale, and there's
no guarantee that it will materialise.

So why do car bateries still cost so much?


Posted by Ahem A Rivet's Shot on June 3, 2010, 6:49 pm
 On Thu, 03 Jun 2010 17:37:02 +1000

    Because car batteries are a mature technology that hasn't changed
much in the last half century. Digital electronics is a fast changing
technology with huge demand to drive development. Photovoltaics is a
changing technology with a relatively small but growing demand - many
companies are working on improving the manufacturing technology which is
why we see vacuum sputtered thin film, string ribbon and even roll to roll
printing being developed as manufacturing processes.

Steve O'Hara-Smith                          |   Directable Mirror Arrays
C:>WIN                                      | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins.                |    licences available see
You lose and Bill collects.                 |    http://www.sohara.org/

Posted by vaughn on June 3, 2010, 8:09 pm

Who the hell ever told you that?

New technology is usually where we FIND large economies of scale.  Manufacturers
invest in new technologies that promise new efficiencies and lower unit costs,
which gives them a temporary advantage in the marketplace until their
competition catches up by either adopting, improving, or taking the next jump to
yet another new technology.  For a wonderful example, look at the memory market
over the last 40 years.

Boy do you have THAT right!  That seems to be especially true in the PV world.
Two or three times a year we hear of some new technology that is going to take
PV prices through the floor.  So far, the changes we have seen have been more
evolutionary than revolutionary.


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