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Researchers create printed solar cells

Nilay Patel

We've seen a lot of attempts to cut the costs of solar cells, but a team in Japan has managed to create an inexpensive flexible cell that's as thin as a sheet of paper using what they describe as traditional printing techniques. The team, composed of researchers from Toin University in Yokohama and private firm Fujimori Kogyo, managed to eliminate the expensive silicon component of regular solar cells, reducing thickness to just .4mm (.015 inches), and allowing a factory to pump out reams of the material every month -- enough to generate 10 megawatts of juice. That's actually a fairly low estimate, as the cells are only at 6% efficiency right now, but we can imagine that number shooting upwards after they start shipping in February.

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