The lack of low cost, large scale energy storage systems is a big problem for solar power. Today, the typical solar cell can only store energy for only a few microseconds. As a result, customers equipped with solar panels will for the foreseeable future remain dependent on the electric power grid.
This is why so many green energy gurus consider hybrid systems combining solar and storage to be the mother of all disruptive technologies.
A new study by chemists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) suggests that rather than combining solar and storage, it may be easier to design solar cells that can do double duty as batteries.
The study, which was published in the most recent issue of the journal Science, describes a process for designing solar cells is capable of storing electricity for as long as several weeks at a time.
The solar cells, which are made from plastic rather than silicon, mimic a mechanism used by plants to generate energy through photosynthesis.
See full story here: