Friday, March 9, 2007

Solar technology gets White House boost

A company trying to harness energy from sunlight and interior light to wirelessly power everything from cell phones to signboards now has financial backing from the White House.

President Bush's program to help solar energy compete with conventional electricity sources will help fund Konarka Technologies' development of flexible plastic solar cell strips — material that could be embedded into the casings of laptop computers and even woven into power-producing clothing to energize digital media players or other electronics.

The technology, which received its first Pentagon funding three years ago, offers a lightweight, flexible alternative to conventional rigid photovoltaic cells on glass panels...

Konarka's development of plastic solar cell strips that can be manufactured like rolls of photographic film "has the promise of becoming a low-cost manufacturing technique," said Jeffrey Bencik, a Jefferies & Co. analyst who follows the solar industry. "Some of their laboratory production has worked as advertised. But can they mass-produce it and get the same result? That's the biggest question."

Solar technology gets White House boost

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