Speaking of solar (see below), the growing interest in photovoltaics has sparked a sharp increase in the price of the high-quality silicon needed to make standard solar panels. It turns out that most silicon has too many other metals intermixed in the ore to be usable for photovoltaic power; processes for removing the contaminants exist, but are far too expensive to be worthwhile, even at current high silicon prices. But @Monkeysign points us to new research by a team in Berkeley which may make it far easier -- and cheaper -- to turn "dirty" silicon into pv-grade material.
The research will be published in an upcoming Nature Materials, but is available (to subscribers) online.
There's a lot to be said about what this might mean, but @Monkeysign does a terrific job of laying out the scenarios, so go check it out.
As you posted in December organic PV's are coming along.
It appears that a race will exist between low-cost silicon PV's and low-cost OPV's.
This, of course, is a good thing.