While solar energy is the wave of the future, it is currently hampered not only by its expense, but by its technological inefficiency. Currently, on average, solar panels convert only about 15% of the sunlight hitting them into power.
However, additional investments in research will quickly get us to where we have to be. We already have the inklings as to where that is. Read on:
"Quantum dots have the potential to change the world. They are a form of solar cell that is completely beyond anything you might imagine. Traditional solar cells produce electricity in a unique way. When the sunlight hits material in the cell, the material kicks off an electron and the charge is the electricity. Quantum dots work the same way, but they produce three electrons for every photon of sunlight that hits the dots. The dots also catch more spectrums of the sunlight waves, thus increasing conversion efficiency to as high as 65 percent, a stunning figure.
The really interesting thing about quantum dots is they do not require big, bulk solar panels to work. Researchers are combing the dots with liquid polymers. In practical terms, this means they can be sprayed onto any surface. This literally means that anything painted can act as a solar cell. Think about that. In the near future, you will be able to go solar by just repainting your house. Hybrid cars will be revolutionized, so will your mobile phone. On a cold day, you can put on a coat and gloves that are heated by the solar cells imbedded in their surfaces. The scope of this breakthrough is as breathless as it is unlimited."When my kids were very little, they used to walk to school. When it was very cold outside, I gave them a headstart in staying warm by putting their coats in the dryer for a few minutes so when they put them on, they were all toasty. But the heat soon ran out. Imagine putting your kid in a coat covered with quantum dots! They could play outside in the snow (assuming we ever get snow again in Baltimore, and assuming they dust the snow off every now and then so it is exposed to the light), and never get cold!
For more information about this and other inventive technologies that will save the world, check out their site: