Alternative energy is my subject. I have followed the technologies available in the last half year. My first entry I'll focus on two of them who'se introduction (imho) is being delayed by the 'industry'
Solar thermal energy is usefull for water and air heating in homes, having reached a plateau with the new vacuum tube collectors. However Concentrated solar has serious potential and is being treated like it is still unproven see this article from Reuters : http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSN2729905420070627
Energy utilities want to test the technology for introduction in 2010!
You'll find companies that are ready to go here:
To name the most interesting ones: Sunmachine, Solar Power Group in germany and Rotem in Israel. These are all companies using mirrors to concetrate sunlight, running either turbines or Stirling generators on them. You can order today and start your own utility.
Another one of those suppressed developments. Photovoltaic cells are not cheap while they are generally underutalized (the sunlight on them is not as strong as it could be). Concentrated PV tries to get the most out of the photovoltaic realestate by focussing many times the single sunpower on small peices of cell. Although there is a trade off between the heat generated by the sunlight and the power generated by the increased light input to the cell, this technology is 100% vialbe and would cut PV cost as of tomorrow if it where introduced. Hoever almost non of the companies that make them :
Have managed to introduce them to the market. The only one making a real move is Practical instruments (http://www.practical-instruments.com/) that made a deal with a group of installers for a significant amount. This proves that market introduction of whatever revolutionary technology for application to homes must go through the gates of reluctant installer companies, that simply want a piece of the pie.
Concentrated PV pricing is held up against conventional PV equivalent, wich makes it a potential money machine, but also hampers its introduction. Concetrated PV could make conventional PV completely obsolete which (again imho) is why it is not allowed into the market.