While solar electricity generation has skyrocketed in the past five years, it still accounts for less than one percent of overall power generation in the United States. Materials costs for solar technologies have gone down, but not yet enough to be fully competitive with other fuels.
Those costs could drop further and the flexibility of solar technologies could increase due to the work of Duke University researchers. A team led by Dr. Adrienne Stiff-Roberts is investigating ways to use organic materials for solar power through an advanced technique known as matrix-assisted pulsed laser evaporation, or MAPLE. The project is supported by Duke’s Energy Initiative, which has provided seed grants to encourage a variety of innovative research projects.