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Solar paint is an interesting idea, possibly the next (big) step forward in clean energy for the people. Sure, nuclear power is better for the environment than coal or oil (discounting the question of what to do with all that nuclear waste), but it requires access to some private-interest-controlled power grid, and current productive solar panels are pricey, and even then much less so than a productive wind farm.

But that gets us to this innovation. So what is solar paint? Well, pretty much, it does exactly what it says on the tin. It is paint, which you can paint onto any sun-exposed exterior surface, and which contains microscopic solar cell-like structures which form a continuous web when the paint dries. And so, it can absorb solar energy -- much like a solar panel -- and channel it through a receiver, painted right into the paint, into your household. Now on the one hand, this is much lacking in the efficiency department put up against regular solar panels, currently capturing maybe 10% as much energy per square meter of coverage. But the paint is much, much less expensive -- if mass production comes on line, it will be only a bit pricier than your current typical house paint already on the market. And, face it, you need to have stuff painted to keep out weather effects anyway, so why not invest the extra bucks in a paint that will pay itself back by cutting your energy bills?

Durability is another big advantage solar paint will have over solar panels, which are fragile and breakable. A costly solar array has to be carefully positioned to catch the sun; solar paint will be cheap enough to just be slopped over any surface, and replaced (like all paint) when it wears. Though we must be wary of unintended side effects (like exacerbating environmental concerns already raised by paint production methods), intelligently pursued this technology promises to be of great benefit to humankind.

Here's a Scientific American article providing some more detail on the progress being made.

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