Imagine a skyscraper, gleaming with polished glass, that was generating electricity with every square inch of window space. Thanks to these UCLA nanochemists, that is a pretty realistic image.
By impregnating plastic with silver nanowires (atomic-scale conductors) that are small enough to be invisible, and absorbing infrared light while allowing visible light to pass through, these solar cells (right, above) are 70% transparent.
They take a slight hit in efficiency compared to traditional solar, but can be deployed almost anywhere. Within a decade, we could have buildings supplying their own electricity via building materials!