Yesterday earth2tech had another angle:
A little known fact about Boeing: It’s got more solar patents than anyone else in the U.S. (14 solar thermal patents since 2002 as of January, according to cleantech patent tracking law firm Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti). So sooner or later the defense contractor would want to commercialize ‘em. This morning Boeing says it has teamed up with solar thermal company Stirling Energy Systems to develop Boeing’s high-concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) solar power technology.
High-concentration solar PV technology uses mirrors and lenses to concentrate sunlight onto a high-efficiency photovoltaic cell. The technology provides more power than standard photovoltaic solar panels, and tends to be smaller in scale than the massive solar thermal plants (that don’t use PV) that are being built in the world’s deserts these days.
Boeing started developing the concentrating solar PV tech (dubbed XR700) back in 2007 in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Program. Stirling Energy Systems, which has the exclusive worldwide license to develop, deploy and commercialize the tech, will now use solar cells from Boeing’s subsidiary Spectrolab for the technology, and plans to deploy the systems commercially by 2012.
Stirling already makes utility-scale solar thermal technology based on a stirling engine called the “SunCatcher” solar dish. Stirling engines were invented centuries ago, and can be more efficient and quieter than internal combustion engines and use a closed system of gases to generate power. Most solar thermal technologies, by contrast, concentrate the sun’s rays onto liquid, which powers a turbine....MORE
Here's the press release (2 page PDF) from Stirling.