Google “green czar” Bill Weihl has just reported that if all things go as planned, we could see Google rolling out breakthrough solar thermal technology within 1-3 years.
Google’s new concentrated solar technology, he says, would cut the cost of solar thermal power systems in half — a good step towards Google’s overall goal of making renewable energy cheaper than coal.
“The project is focused on reducing the cost of the heliostats, the fields of mirrors that track the sun and concentrate its power on a point so that it can be used to create steam and drive a turbine. Google has reportedly developed new materials for the mirror’s reflective surface and the substrate on which the mirror is mounted,” Rachel Fielding of Business Green reports.
According to Weil, the technology is not ready for external testing yet, but eSolar and BrightSource are already interested in the technology. If development and testing continue to go well, we could see it being mass-produced as early as 2011 (or at the latest 2013).
Google is moving forward fast with its clean energy plans. It has already gotten into the utility business (legally, but not commercially). And it has invested over $45 million in clean energy since 2007 when it announced its Develop Renewable Cheaper than Coal (RE<C) initiative.
Could we see Google Solar or Google Electric Co. in our communities in a few years’ time?
For much more information on how Google’s clean energy work is organized and what kinds of things they are looking at, read the New York Times‘ January interview with Bill Weihl or visit Google.org.
Image Credit: thaths via flickr under a CC license
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