Yesterday, Konarka announced that they have demonstrated organic (made of carbon/plastic/oil based products versus silicon/inorganic products) solar cells that can be manufactured using highly efficient ink-jet printing. These solar cells do not require the clean room processes that silicon cells do and could make it easier to incorporate solar power into many useful applications.I wonder how expensive these will be to produce. You figure if they can ink-jet print them that the price ought to be low, but I guess we will have to wait until later this year to find out.
Although only 5% efficient now compared to the 15-20% efficiency of traditional silicon solar cells, organic solar cells are more flexible and easier to print in colors, transparent or even in camouflage.
Although not commercially available yet, Konarka is at work with a number of commercial partners and likely to be available later this year.