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Start-up Konarka is one of several companies using nanotechnology to make photovoltaic material that doesn't require silicon. Konarka says its plastic strips, once commercially available, will be flexible enough for a wide range of applications.
Like other solar companies, Konarka envisions flexible solar material that can be used widely, such as attached to an outdoor awning to generate electricity. The company is developing portable, electricity-generating buildings for the Army.
Energy Innovations, an Idealab company, is developing solar "concentrators" that use mirrors and lenses to intensify the light and generate more electricity from solar panels. The company's Sunflower product is designed specifically for flat-roof buildings such as warehouses and large stores.