Some blogs I’ve come across that might be worth following on this (and other renewable energy resources): The Energy Blog, Alternative Energy Blog, a guy who calls his site
“The War Against Oil” (how could I pass up linking to a title like that?).
Other organizations and companies to look at: the solar energy page of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (which I’d never even heard of until a few days ago), a company that makes quantum dots and has some flash presentations explaining them in simple terms.
A few disconnected thoughts to kick off the discussion. This is a much more complicated subject than I at first thought, because in evaluating technologies you have to factor in many things other than the operation time needed to recover energy used in construction. There are also things like the scalability, ease of installation, possible degredation of the materials because of UV light, disposability or recyclability of the materials after use, and so on. Because of the large role that government subsidies play in renewable energy, it might be a good idea to look at companies in Europe and Japan, rather than the US, because the governments over there are giving out more subsidies (or, it might be more accurate to say, balance their subsidies to fossil and bio fuels against their subsidies to true renewables a bit differently than the corn-fed US Congress). Finally, in recognition of the continuing dominance of the “first-generation” silicon wafer technology, in finding a way to invest in solar energy, it might make sense to split resources between this more proven technology and “wilder” newcomers like quantum dots or thin films.