The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has created thin film solar panels that are very close to competing with their more traditional silicon-based cousins. "The copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film solar cell recently reached 19.9 percent efficiency in testing at the lab, setting a new world record."While thin film has been cheaper to produce, it has been much less efficient than its silicon brethren. Hopefully this research will allow thin film to increase its efficiency while maintaining its low price.
It is estimated that thin film producer Nanosolar's cells are 6.7% efficient. At that level, just a 3.3% increase in efficiency to 10% would allow each cell to capture 50% more energy, reducing the price per watt by 33%.
via Tree Hugger and EcoGeek