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Silicon Valley Eyes Solar Energy

Silicon Valley investors are also taking an interest in solar, part of their growing interest in companies that develop environmentally friendly technologies.
by Staff Writers
Los Angeles (XNA) Oct 20, 2006
As demand for clean energy rises around the world, Silicon Valley firms in Northern California are looking to develop solar energy, a report said on Tuesday. The region's venture capitalists, chip makers and entrepreneurs bet on sun power, which also relies on silicon, said the report on the Los Angeles Times website.

"Engineers and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are taking advantage of their expertise in computer chips to design and manufacture electricity-generating solar cells that they hope will be increasingly competitive with traditional energy sources such as coal and natural gas," said the report.

Most solar cells and chips are made from the same raw material from which the valley gets its name.

"We're in the very early stages of a long build-out in solar technology," Erik Straser, who heads the "clean tech" practice at Menlo Park venture capital firm Mohr Davidow Ventures, was quoted as saying. "The potential is really enormous."

Despite being three times more expensive than fossil fuel in the U.S., solar energy has great potentials taking into consideration of worries about global warming mainly resulting from fossil fuel, said the report.

Silicon Valley investors are also taking an interest in solar, part of their growing interest in companies that develop environmentally friendly technologies.

The solar energy industry "is expected to grow from 11 billion dollars in 2005 to 51 billion dollars in 2015, according to a projection by Clean Edge Inc., a market research firm focused on clean technology.

This has prompted many firms in the Silicon Valley to venture into the field.

About 1.4 billion dollars in venture capital was invested in clean tech ventures in the first six months of this year, and 1.6 billion dollars was invested last year, according to the Cleantech Venture Network.

About one-third of that money was invested in Silicon Valley, said Carl Guardino, who heads the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

Solar's expansion in Silicon Valley won't necessarily create many manufacturing jobs in the region. Production primarily takes place in low-cost countries, mostly in Asia, according to the report.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

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A Boost For Solar Cells With Photon Fusion
Mainz, Germany (SPX) Oct 16, 2006
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz have developed a process with which longwave light from a normal light source can be converted to shortwave light.

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