According to IBM’s annual “Next Five in Five” report, thin-film solar cells will be embedded in driveways, sidewalks, paint, rooftop, and windows within 5 years.
The prediction is based on an expected drop in the price of thin-film solar cells, which are 100 times thinner than silicon solar cells.
Thin-film solar cells are already cheaper than silicon-wafer cells because of a production process that allows them to be printed and arranged on any flexible backing, including cell-phones, notebook computers, and clothing.
Other IBM predictions include digital shopping assistants, personalized genetic maps, and advances in voice recognition software.
Photo Credit: NREL
Ariel Schwartz was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a contributor at Fast Company, Inhabitat, Triple Pundit, SF Weekly, and NBC Bay Area Online. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.