Spherical Solar Cells
Japan's Clean Venture 21 has developed a new spin on solar with their Spherical Silicon Solar Array. Texas Instruments evidently first made them in the '80s but efficiency was only about 10% and the costs were high; Clean Ventures puts each little 1mm ball into a little reflector. It still is only 12% efficient, but they claim that it has only one fifth the amount of silicon and should only cost one fifth as much to make, using half as much energy as conventional solar cell manufacture. Evidently silicon balls are made by dripping rather than cutting, so little raw material is needed, there is no cutting, and the optical properties are good.