IBM is becoming gradually more involved in the world of clean tech, so it’s not surprising that their third annual "IBM Next Five in Five" includes a mention of solar power.  The list includes five innovations that will change the way people work, live, and play over the next five years.  Accordingly, IBM thinks energy saving solar technology will be built into asphalt, paint, and windows.  Basically, with the advent of thin-film solar cells and advances in technology, everything everywhere will have solar cells and harvest energy.  And the technology to do so will be affordable, too. 

According to IBM:

In the next five years, solar energy will be an affordable option for you and your neighbors.  Until now, the materials and the process of producing solar cells to convert into solar energy have been too costly for widespread adoption.  But now this is changing with the creation of “thin-film” solar cells, a new type of cost-efficient solar cell that can be 100 times thinner than silicon-wafer cells and produced at a lower cost.  These new thin-film solar cells can be “printed” and arranged on a flexible backing, suitable for not only the tops, but also the sides of buildings, tinted windows, cell phones, notebook computers, cars, and even clothing.

There’s certainly going to be some ramp up time to integrate solar technology into the world around us.  As the technology becomes available, we’ll start applying it and that will take time — just think of all the buildings that could using renovating right now.  But a massive, large-scale effort to improve both our buildings and infrastructure, while effectively using new solar technology, I believe, will bring about this change that IBM anticipates. 

The other four ideas on IBM’s list include: (1) a crystal ball for your health, (2) talking with the web, (3) having a digital shopping assistant, and (4) no more forgetting distant memories.  Hmm …

Via Sustainable Business