Power for the World: The Emergence of Electricity from the Sun, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Power for the World

The Emergence of Electricity from the Sun, 1st Edition

Edited by Wolfgang Palz

Pan Stanford

575 pages | 304 Color Illus. | 27 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9789814303378
pub: 2010-10-31

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The book comes in three parts: "The Rising Sun in a Developing World", "Solar Power for the World" and "PV Today and Forever". It provides a historical summary and gives a comprehensive overview of the present photovoltaic (PV) situation worldwide and future strategies for development and implementation. The author is a world leader in PV and all renewable energies.The book is illustrated with about 100 pictures.


"…an interesting collection of anecdotes concerning solar projects written by the people who were and are actually on the scene. Though the book does not ignore technical aspects, it highlights personal problems and difficulties, especially the institutional and cultural snags that are seldom included in professional papers. In chapter 1, Palz (World Council for Renewable Energy, Belgium) provides a review of the entire field, emphasizing photovoltaic cells. The remaining chapters are authored by solar experts who collectively span the various specialties and national emphases that complicate the construction of viable projects. In each chapter, the author describes his/her educational background, technical specialty, and personal projects. The authors also discuss project failures, which are often omitted from other works even though they may be very instructive to the reader. Solar technology is still in flux, and dead ends are to be expected. Valuable for all students of solar energy. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries."

—J. C. Comer, Emeritus, Northern Illinois University, in CHOICE, August 2011, Vol. 48, #11

"Power for the World by Wolfgang Palz is more than an Encyclopedia of Solar Cells. … Wolfgang Palz is a master in assembling people, themes, and information that makes the reader live the exciting lives of these pioneers with the development of solar cells from its very beginning to the present. He let his many authors describe the fascination with success and the frustration by so many impediments in between. He stimulates the philosophy that leads to this beginning of the solar age. Wolfgang Palz, during his travels through the continents, is a master of creating friendship between scientists, engineers, industries, and politicians worldwide with his charming personality, for the common goal to make this the starting of the solar age. From his desk at the European Union in Brussels he has directed over decades all the essential research in Europe in solar cells. Now he has created a truly remarkable book that needs to find its place on the bookshelf of any one working or interested in solar. It is one of the few books that will be taken out again and again to find more of the exciting description of lived history. The timing of creating this book was exactly right. This is one of the culmination points of Wolfgang Palz’s life, congratulations."

—Dr. Karl Boer

Table of Contents

About the Author

List of Contributors

Hymn to the Sun


Hermann Scheer MP


Chapter 1

Part I: The Rising Sun in a Developing World

1. Electric Power, A Pillar of Modern Society

1.1 Electricity in Today’s Life

1.2 The Conventional World of Electricity

1.3 Solar PV: A Part of the New Semiconductor World

2. Looking Back to Light the Future

2.1 The Emergence of Electricity

2.2 From the "Voltaic Pile" to the Photovoltaic Cell

2.3 Photovoltaic Power: The First steps

3. Solar Power for Space Satellites

4. First Ideas about Lighting us with Solar Power

4.1 Mutations of the Societies in the US and Europe

4.2 A New Awareness for Solar Power

4.3 The Oil-Price Shocks, The Nuclear Disaster 1986

5. After the Vision: AMountain of Challenges

5.1 PV in the Starting Blocks in 1973

5.2 The Cost Problem: Technological Challenges

5.3 The Chicken and Egg Problem: Mass Production

5.4 Entrenched Energy Strategies and Politics

5.5 Against Dominant Allocations of State Budgets

5.6 Administrations

5.7 The Energy Buy-Back Time, The Module Lifetime

5.8 Intermittency of Supply

5.9 Environmental Challenges

6 Leadership of Action

6.1 The Pioneering Role of the United States

6.2 France: A European Solar Pioneer

6.3 PV Start up in Germany

6.4 PV Ups and Downs in Japan


6.6 The European Union

6.7 The G8

6.8 The Energy Empire Fights Back

Part II: Solar Power for the World

1. Basics for a new Solar Age

1.1 The Ethical Imperative of Photovoltaics

1.2 Cost and Social Acceptance: Ingredients

for a Viable Energy Strategy

1.3 PV as Part of a Holistic Approach towards

Renewable Energy Implementation

and Energy Conservation

1.4 And what about the Power Plants on the Road?

1.4.1 Car drivers and their power plants

1.4.2 Mobilising PV for transport

2. Driving Forces

2.1 Aspiration of the People

2.2 Preserving Nature and Alleviating Climate Change

2.3 Peak Oil

2.4 Energy Security of Supply

3. The Role of Stake Holders in Society

3.1 Governments and Administrations

3.2 Industry and Finance

3.3 PV Costs and Benefits for Society; a Special Role

for the Grid Operators

4. New Energy Paradigm

4.1 Centralised or Decentralised PV

4.2 What Role for the Conventional Power Utilities?

4.3 Communities and Regions Mastering their

own Energy Supply

4.4 The Autonomous Energy House: Solar Architecture

and the Building Industry

5. Power for the People

5.1 Starting a Global Strategy: 10 Watts per Head

5.2 PV for the People in the Industrialised World

5.3 PV for the People in the Solar Belt

6. Power for the Poor

6.1 Getting Involved

6.2 PV Power for the Poor in the Developing Countries

6.3 Power for the Poor in the Industrialised Countries

7. Power for Peace

Part III: PV Today and Forever

1. Solar Power 2009/10: AWealth of Achievements

1.1 The Global PV Markets 2009/10

1.2 Political, Financial, and Industrial Environment

1.3 The Technology Boom goes on

2. Outlook

2.1 On the Threshold of Commercial Viability

2.2 Outlook Towards 2020

2.3 PV as Part of a 100% RE World

3. Conclusions



Chapter 2 My Solar Age Started with Tchernobyl

Franz Alt

Chapter 3 More Electricity for Less Co2

Yves Bamberger

Chapter 4 Solar Power in Practice

Stefan Behling

Chapter 5 The Story of Developing Solar Glass Facades

Joachim Benemann

Chapter 6 Bringing the Oil Industry into the Picture

Karl Wolfgang Böer

Chapter 7 Factory for Sale — or the Long and Stony

Way to Cheap Solar Energy: The Story of

the Thin-Film CdTe Solar Cells; First Solar

and Others — A Semi-Autobiography

Dieter Bonnet

Chapter 8 Photovoltaics in the World Bank Group Portfolio

Anil Cabraal

Chapter 9 Solar Bicycles, Mercedes, Handcuffs — PlusEnergy


Gallus Cadonau

Chapter 10 Photovoltaic Power Systems for Lifting Women

Out of Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa

Dominique Campana

Chapter 11 Solar Cell Development Work at COMSAT

Laboratories (1967–1975)

Denis J. Curtin

Chapter 12 SolarBank

Michael T. Eckhart

Chapter 13 Will This Work? Is It Realistic?

Thoughts and Acts of a Political Practitioner

with a Solar Vision

Hans-Josef Fell

Chapter 14 The IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference

Americo F. (Moe) Forestieri

Chapter 15 Review of China’s Solar PV Industry in 2009

Gao Hu

Chapter 16 Lighting the World: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Biswajit Ghosh

Chapter 17 The Role of Research Institutes for the Promotion

of PV: The Case of Fraunhofer ISE (Institute of

Solar Energy Systems)

Adolf Goetzberger

Chapter 18 Abandoning Nuclear in Favor of Renewable


Giuliano Grassi

Chapter 19 Nonconventional Sensitized Mesoscopic

(Grätzel) Solar Cells

Michael Grätzel

Chapter 20 The PV World Conference in Vienna

Wolfgang Hein

Chapter 21 PV in Japan — Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Osamui Ikki and Izumi Kaizuka

Chapter 22 PV in Europe, from 1974 to 2009:

A Personal Experience

Helmut Kiess

Chapter 23 PV in Berlin — How It All Began: The Story

of Solon, Q-Cells, PV in Brazil

Stefan Krauter

Chapter 24 Three Steps to a Solar System — 1–40% and 100%

Harry Lehmann

Chapter 25 France Did Not Want to Look for the Sun…

Alain Liébard and Yves-Bruno Civel

Chapter 26 On the International Call for Photovoltaics of 2008

Daniel Lincot

Chapter 27 High Efficiency Photovoltaics for a Sustainable


Antonio Luque

Chapter 39 Terrestrial Photovoltaic Industry — The Beginning

Peter F. Varadi

Chapter 40 Solar Power in Geneva, Switzerland

Philippe Verburgh

Chapter 41 Early PV Markets and Solar Solutions in South Asia

Neville Williams

About the Editor

Wolfgang Palz is currently chairman of the World Council Renewable Energy. He is bearer of an Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande), has been recognised as a wind energy pioneer in Britain and has received European prizes for biomass, wind energy and photovoltaics, respectively.

About the Series

Pan Stanford Series on Renewable Energy

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / General
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Power Resources / Alternative & Renewable