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Plastic solar cells get boost in efficiency, uses


Narrator:
    This is Science Today. Plastic solar cells are cheaper and lighter than silicon ones, but there have been concerns about their efficiency. Now a UCLA engineer is working with a private company to significantly boost efficiency. Yang Yang, a professor of materials science and engineering, says they were able to create a solar cell in a way that's similar to printing newspapers.  

Yang:        So we can actually produce these solar cells and bring to the market much faster than the traditional silicon process. And more important, in the future our product will be [a] panel that will be flexible, lightweight and you can mount on the roof or even the purse or a backpack, so that's an advantage that we have.

Narrator:    These flexible, lightweight panels could be called solar posters and be hung outside of a house or a building to collect solar energy.

Yang:        The other advantage we have is our material being plastic, which can actually make semi-transparent solar windows on the high-rise buildings or on the normal buildings that usually they tint the window to reduce infrared and we can use the infrared to create electricity.

Narrator:    For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.