Nanotech solar power planned for rooftops, siding

A useful article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle by Paul Carlstrom — “As solar gets smaller, its future gets brighter: Nanotechnology could turn rooftops into a sea of power-generating stations” — describes the current state of near-term nanotech’s contribution to solar energy technologies. “With nanotechnology, tiny solar cells can be printed onto flexible, very thin light-retaining materials, bypassing the cost of silicon production…Each printed nanostructure solar cell would act as an autonomous solar collector, and sheets of these products would have more surface area to gather light than conventional photovoltaic cells…The companies envision mass production of flexible plastics that would conform to the shape and pitch of rooftops or would be imprinted onto building materials like tile and siding.” In the longer term, more-precise nanotech solar materials could be tough enough to use in paving roads.

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