It’s not only hay, but also solar energy, that needs to be made while the sun shines. The need for daylight has been a major drawback to maximizing collection of solar energy to be used, stored or sold. Until now.

Researchers at the Idaho National Laboratory have developed a new technology that allows for gathering sunlight for a few hours after sundown. Their “nanoantenna” embeds a very slim piece of conducting metal onto plastic film which is then able to absorb infrared energy stored in the earth, even after the sun sets.

Though still not ready for prime time, the technology opens a new doorway into cost-efficient energy gathering as it will be a cost-efficient film that can be installed on flexible materials.

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By Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD + C President, Metropolitan Valuation Services