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Advantages of a more efficient solar panel

   This is Science Today. By substituting a silicon atom for a carbon atom in the structure of a polymer for use in solar cells, UCLA scientists have dramatically improved the material's photovoltaic properties. Study leader Yang Yang, a professor of materials science and engineering, says this will make plastic solar cells much more efficient.

Yang:        The advantage of a high efficiency is just like gas mileage. The higher the gas mileage you have, the cheaper, the lower the cost of driving per mile. So, if we have high efficiency, we should be able to produce a dollar per watt or a kilowatt hour to much lower cost manner. So, in the future, solar technology compete with our current electricity price.

Narrator:    Their polymer solar cells are lightweight, flexible and because they're semi-transparent, they can be tinted a variety of colors and used as solar posters on buildings.

Yang:         So, I think this technology could actually bring the solar cell and solar energy to a much more spread out to our daily life, including automobiles and other things that are not being considered now.

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