The next generation of solar cells will be small. About the size of lint. But the anticipated impact: That’s huge.
Some of these emerging electricity-generating cells could be embedded in windows without obscuring the view. Engineers envision incorporating slightly larger ones into resins that would be molded onto the tops of cars or maybe the roofs of buildings. One team of materials scientists is developing microcells that could be rubber-stamped by the millions onto a yard of fabric. When such cells shrink in size — but not efficiency — it becomes hard to imagine what they couldn’t electrify.