Skyscrapers as energy plants

Within three years, skyscrapers might be powering our homes. A team from MIT has been figuring out how to make solar cells cheap and small. They’ve come up with a type of paint that concentrates the solar power and directs it to a solar cell. They predict that the new dye could be applied to existing buildings, like skyscrapers, so you could retrofit a building into a solar generator without even changing the glass. Once applied, you’d have to tack on a few solar collectors and voila…instant electricity.

The glass lets in about 10 percent of sunlight, so from the inside, it would look like you were sitting behind a smoked glass window. It would make solar energy about 50 percent more efficient, say the MIT scientists.

“The main benefit is with the cost, explains Professor Marc Baldo, one of the researchers on the team. “You use a far smaller amount of solar cells. For the same area of solar cells, you get much more electricity.”

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