Solar-Powered Home, No Panels Needed

07/19/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A "solar concentrator" might sound like something an evil genius comes up with to destroy the Big City in a comic book, but it's actually a way to make solar power more accessible. Engineers at in MIT's electrical engineering and computer science department recently made it possible for regular old windows to harness solar energy and power a building with it.

Marc Baldo, associate professor of electrical engineering at MIT, led a team of scientists that used special dyes to coat the windows, which helps them effectively absorb the light. The light is then successfully collected around the window edges by solar cells (see the rad photo). Baldo and his team knew solar collectors had been used in large, pricey mirror setups, and thought they could work on a smaller scale.

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