Solar power continues to be one of those great ideas that hasn’t quite been able to get to where it needs to be to become truly useful. It’s still cost prohibitive to put panels on your home, the panels are easily damaged, and the the energy conversion rate just isn’t all that great. There’s even problems in those solar farms where birds flying over head are bursting into flames from the heat that the mirrors are generating. Now, it looks like some MIT scientists might have a new solar energy technology that could change the way we think about alternative power.

The new invention, Spray LD, is a method of applying paint with tiny photo voltaic cells in it. The cost is much lower than traditional solar cells and can be applied a large number of surfaces, turning them into giant, low cost solar cells. Why put a few panels on your roof when you could turn the entire exterior of a home into a giant solar panel? Imagine the power that could be created If municipal buildings and shopping malls started using a paint like this on their walls and roofs. What if this paint could be used on cars, allowing electric vehicles to be charged, just by sitting in a parking lot…

Dr. Illan Kramer of The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and IBM has invented a new way to spray solar cells onto flexible surfaces using miniscule light-sensitive materials known as colloidal quantum dots (CQDs)—a major step toward making spray-on solar cells easy and cheap to manufacture.

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