Are you ready to flip the bird at your utility company? Lord knows you probably will be after you get the bill for what's shaping up to be an especially hot June. Luckily, a whole host of companies working on improving a novel solar technology would like to help you do it.
The new tech is called thin-film solar, and the global research director of GE thinks it will soon be cheap enough to compete with the retail price of electricity from the grid. This is called "grid parity" and it's the Holy Grail of rooftop solar. When this magic pony arrives (so legend has it), it will revolutionize how we produce and consume electricity. Mostly by enabling those of us who live in sufficiently sunny climates to DIY our utilities.
Anyway, GE suit Mark Little thinks that thin-film solar, which can be printed like magazines rather than constructed from expensive silicon like traditional solar panels, only has to get a little more efficient — 10 or 20 percent more — to help break through the 15 cent per kilowatt hour price barrier for a residential installation. (Typical retail electricity prices are between 8 and 20 cents per kwh, and the national average is about 11 cents.)