We love solar power due to the fact that it could potentially power your electric car completely carbon free. Well, besides what would be emitted by the creation of the solar cells in the first place, but that topic is for another time. Although solar cells are not efficient enough yet to make it practical to place them on a vehicle of standard size and weight, it makes more sense to make the solar cell part of a stand-alone mini-grid where you could recharge your car, kind of like a gas station. The best part is that you could do the same thing at home by setting up the grid on your garage roof, charging your car whenever it's parked in your garage or driveway.
Currently, solar power is just too expensive for the average household to consider, although it would likely pay itself off in time. Good news comes from The Ohio State University, where researchers hope to generate just as much electricity from a new type of cell as the normal silicon based cells currently on the market. The dye-sensitive solar cells appear pink due to the mixture of ruthenium and either titanium or zinc oxide particles in the cells, and would cost about a quarter of the price as other competing cells. Engadget makes a joke regarding solar powered pink Cadillac's, but I'm not so sure that Mary Kay is listening.
According to Yiying Wu, assistant professor of chemistry at Ohio State, "We asked ourselves, what structure is best for gathering light and also transporting materials -- a tree! The leaves provide a high surface area for capturing light, and the branches transport the nutrients to the roots. In our DSSC design, the dye-coated particles would provide the surface area, and the nano-trees would branch out in between them, to transport the electrons."