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Sunrgi: Stealth Tech Startup May Transform Search Engine Industry

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Nick Carr (The Big Switch) created the framework to view the transformation of the search engine industry (the world's information indexed) into a knowledge grid that companies and people can plug into, the same way a century ago companies stopped generating power from steam engines and dynamos and plugged into the newly built electric grid.

Sunrgi, a new solar energy system startup just out of stealth mode today promises to produce cheap electricity at wholesale prices: 5-cents per kWh (kilowatt hour). Google

XCPV (Xtreme Concentrated Photovoltaics) concentrates the equivalent of more than 1,600 times the sun's energy onto hyper-efficient solar cells, was announced today by Sunrgi, a solar energy system designer and developer, at the National Energy Marketers Association's Annual Global Energy Forum in Washington, DC.

The technology may enable utility companies, corporations, and residents to produce electricity from solar energy at a lower cost than has ever been possible.

Google (GOOG) spent $842 million on infrastructure in Q1 2008, its largest capital expenditures (CAPEX) ever for a single quarter, according to Data Center Knowledge. The record capex investment will acceleration increase Google's need to generate vast amounts of cheap power efficiently.

Google announced four major data center projects in the U.S. in 2007, including facilities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Iowa. Google says its capital expenditures are "related to IT infrastructure investments, including data centers, servers, and networking equipment."

The green technology isn't vaporware but it may be a couple years before widespread adoption.

"In a little more than a year we were able to develop and successfully test XCPV," said Bob Block, co-founder and Sunrgi principal in a statement. "We expect the Sunrgi system to become available for both on and off-grid power appplications, worldwide, in twelve to fifteen months"

The price is right: 5-cents is on par with the wholesale cost of producing electricity using fossil fuels. That would make solar power as affordable as coal, natural gas or other non-renewable sources, without requiring a subsidy. Plus, it's a fraction of the cost of producing solar energy now.

At a nickel per kWh, NEMA (National Energy Marketers Association) calls solar power, "a world-changing breakthrough."

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