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Buildings NextGen solar bets on affordable solar power from solar paint

Published on April 10th, 2010 | by Tina Casey


Cheap Solar Paint Takes a Giant Step Closer to Reality

April 10th, 2010 by  

NextGen solar bets on affordable solar power from solar paintFor all the excitement over low cost solar power, much of it is still in the development stage backed by government resources and has yet to prove that it can compete on the market with cheap fossil fuels.   However some private investors are starting to bet on low cost solar in a big way.  Among them is tech specialist Len Batterson, whose startup  NextGen Solar is kicking into gear.


NextGen Solar will use nanoscale solar “paint” technology developed by Argonne National Laboratory, with the goal of lowering production costs while increasing efficiency compared to thin-film photovoltaic materials.

Many Roads to Cost-Competitive Solar

From turnkey solar kits to the use of low-cost solar materials, there are many different angles from which to push solar into the competitive energy market.  A solar paint that can be economically applied to different surfaces is one solution.  The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is already working on a silicon based solar ink, and The University of Texas is developing spray-on solar cells.  According to chicagobusiness.com writer Paul Merrion, Argonne’s solar technology can be applied to many types of building surfaces, including windows.  It goes on like paint, then dries to form microscopic interconnected solar cells.

Affordable Solar Power in Action

If commercialization proves successful, solar paint and other forms of low-cost solar power will have an impact that goes beyond lowering utility costs for private property owners and renters.  Even in today’s market, solar power is helping to bring costs down in the subsidized housing sector.  It’s only a matter of time before low cost renewable energy becomes ubiquitous among all facilities owned or subsidized by the government, relieving taxpayers from the budget-sucking burden of fossil fuel utilities.

Image: Paint and light by Lomo-Cam on flickr.com.

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About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

  • Jason_D

    this is really interesting and kool but how bout painting the entire highways and roads with solar paint! it would take care of all the street lights and intersections!

  • Kane

    The concept is one of the best going. The life of every single consumer could be changed forever. Perhaps scientists could develope an application for this paint that involves border fences, mars colonization or the war on drugs. Then maybe the R&D of this technology would get the freak’n tax dollars that it deserves. Probably laughing, not really funny !!

  • Doyle Price

    Send me 5 gallons ASAP as I have many uses.

  • The first solar spray paint that is in the 40% efficiency range will absolutely change the energy game… That is if and when

  • P. J. Lakhapate

    What is the cost of solar painted panel per watt?



  • Epic Blog. then the simillar post I discovered last Saturday on google. Keep up the great work.

  • This is awesome and will help ween us from fossil fuel quickly! This is the first I have heard of this and I would love to learn more.

  • Roxanne

    Imagine solar paint on vehicles or anything that uses batteries.

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