1366 Technologies, a company named after the solar constant (there are 1366 watts of solar radiation hitting each square meter of the Earth on average) is working on improving multi-crystalline silicon solar panels. They claim to have found ways to make them about as efficient as single-crystal silicon solar cells, which are more efficient but also more expensive, without losing the cost benefits.I hope they are right that we will be able to achieve RE<C in just 4 years. Check the article if you are interested in the 3 different innovations.
Three different innovations (described below) allowed them to make their prototype 27% more efficient than conventional multi-crystalline silicon solar cells, bringing its total efficiency to 19.5%, about the same as single-crystal silicon solar cells.
1366 Technologies plans to make its own cell - they just raised $12.4 million and are planning to build a 25 megawatt plant if all goes well - but they are also open to licensing their technology to other solar panel makers. The company expects solar cells produced on a large scale to compete directly with coal at about $1/watt generated by 2012.