The race to make solar power feasible and profitable has another element, as noted in an insightful article from The Verge …
Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have developed a substance that effectively amounts to "solar paint," a liquid composed of quantum dots (not the only quantum dot R&D happening in the solar industry, in fact) that can be brushed onto a conductive material to generate electricity when exposed to light. The early samples are only achieving efficiency of around one percent right now in the laboratory — modern solar panels easily exceed ten percent — but Notre Dame's Prashant Kamat points out that the paint could be produced very cheaply, which means you could potentially spread it over a wide area in a cost-effective way. Kamat's team is now working on boosting efficiency and stability of the substance, at which point commercial viability could be within reach — an entire house covered in the substance might not be that far-fetched of a notion.
Your whole house powering your flat screen? Your car recharging your smartphone as you drive without burdening the electrical system? Seems legit.
[Source: The Verge]