A whopping 43% increase in solar cell efficiency plus a major improvement to off-axis light gathering ability makes a new solar panel technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute an exciting addition to the solar power industry.
Solar power is a familiar field to alternative energy fans.  Like wind power, it depends on naturally-occuring energy sources to harvest usable energy in the form of electricity.  Solar power is not yet a widespread energy producer primarily due to insuffucient "conversion efficiency", the ratio of energy captured as electricity to the total input power in sunlight.
Researchers have now increased the efficiency of new solar cells by enough to give the current crop of cells panels close to 100% effectiveness.  While much work likely remains to bring solar-to-electricity conversion technology -- "solar power" -- to market in a widespread, economical way, advances such as these show the exciting promise of a world less dependent on conventional forms of energy.