Keep an eye on Nanosolar over the next few years. They have just now started producing their solar film at a fraction (1/9th) of the cost of silicon “solar panels.” I can’t find any information about the conversion rate (most estimates are that the sun delivers ~277 watts per square feet down to the earth on a sunny day) of these panels, but considering how cheap they are to produce they sound promising even with at 10%.

Popular Science also reports that Google has invested in the company.

From the Celsias blog:

Their mission: to deliver cost-efficient solar electricity. The Nanosolar company was founded in 2002 and is working to build the world’s largest solar cell factory in California and the world’s largest panel-assembly factory in Germany. They have successfully created a solar coating that is the most cost-efficient solar energy source ever. Their PowerSheet cells contrast the current solar technology systems by reducing the cost of production from $3 a watt to a mere 30 cents per watt. This makes, for the first time in history, solar power cheaper than burning coal.

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