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Google Offers $1 Million to the Inventor of a Smaller, Cheaper and Efficient Solar Power Inverter

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98768363What will the next generation solar power inverter look like? We should ask Google, or rather, all great minds who will join the Little Box Challenge. The event is organized by the tech giant, and has an aim to produce a tiny power box that can help Google reach their ultimate goal- to power all their operations using only renewable energy.

For whoever manages to fulfill the requirements and win the challenge, Google will give the whooping $1 million as a prize.

The Little Box Challenge was announced just a few days ago at an event attended by the President Obama. The prize money is definitely a lot, but it will not come without some sweat and tears. The person, or team, who wins it, should deliver a new, much smaller than any of the currently existing, solar power inverters, which will boost the efficiency and bring down the cost of existing solar power systems.

The Google guys are putting their money on a project that, as they say, is going to solve one of the biggest power puzzles around. The current inverters that are used to convert the power from the cells into AC power, compatible with the grid, are huge and still very expensive. If the price of solar panels have dropped enormously in the last years, the inverters are still as expensive as they were when they were first invented. This slows down developments in the field of solar, and the only way to change this would be to find a way to reduce that cost.

The challenge is in its very early stage, and details about the rules of the competition are still to be revealed. It surely does sound tempting, but I doubt Google will invest so much into something, which is super easy to develop. Good luck to everyone, who decides to take up the task. I am sure the winner will come up with something incredible, we just need to wait and see what that thing would be.

Image (c) Getty Images

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4 COMMENTS

  1. LoneWolffe beepee  And not just DC, “low voltage DC” (milliamps mAs).
     Not being a Genius, I’m just basing some of this logic on self-contained
    RV’s and Boats.  Example:  Take an AC refrigerator and remove the AC
    compressor (driven by an AC motor), replace it with a DC motor driven
    compressor.  It literally costs, the DIY’er, the difference between the
    purchase price of the AC refrigerator and the “DC” refrigerator.
    Self-contained DC power grids are not
    beyond reason.  Fluorescents compared to incandescent,  are “light years” (pun
    intended) ahead, particularly when the measurement of heat comes into
    play.  But, either fluorescent or incandescent  can be transferred without loss of light (or
    luminescence?), and can be networked and multiplied by the fibers terminated
    through magnified lenses placed at great distances from the light source.
     The concept of providing overhead lighting, for an entire office floor,
    with just a few DC fluorescent bulbs, should be interesting to Google as
    well.

  2. And not just DC, “low voltage DC” (milliamps mAs).
     Not being a Genius, I’m just basing some of this logic on self-contained
    RV’s and Boats.  Example:  Take an AC refrigerator and remove the AC
    compressor (driven by an AC motor), replace it with a DC motor driven
    compressor.  It literally costs, the DIY’er, the difference between the
    purchase price of the AC refrigerator and the “DC” refrigerator.
    Self-contained DC power grids are not
    beyond reason.  Fluorescents compared to incandescent,  are “light years” (pun
    intended) ahead, particularly when the measurement of heat comes into
    play.  But, either fluorescent or incandescent  can be transferred without loss of light (or
    luminescence?), and can be networked and multiplied by the fibers terminated
    through magnified lenses placed at great distances from the light source.
     The concept of providing overhead lighting, for an entire office floor,
    with just a few DC fluorescent bulbs, should be interesting to Google as
    well.

  3. beepee  this is boggling to me as well. for example, everything in my office runs on DC, my laptop, smartphone, printer. the television, home theatre system, and dvd player all plug into an AC outlet, but they have internal inverters. the only thing that runs on AC in my house are my fridge and fluorescent lamps. what Google should be funding is a way to implement a DC power grid.

  4. Question:  What percent of the items plugged into Googles Offices, actually run on AC? 

    Now that almost EVERYTHING requires DC, why not use the AC Grid for “other things”.  And while we’re at it, lets use DC Fiber Optic Light Transfer through Magnified Lenses (used first in the American automobile industry, back in the 1960’s).

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