If you think that having solar panel installations in your house will make it look ugly or unsightly, 3M may have a solution for you in the form of a transparent solar film, which essentially renders it invisible. In theory you could even apply it on windows and sliding doors without anyone know any better.
This solar film was on display at the CEATEC electronics conference in Japan and is expected to go on sale in 2012. According to reports, one square meter of the film is apparently able to generate enough energy to sufficiently charge an iPhone under peak sunlight. It is also apparently easy to install and will cost half as much as traditional solar panels.
The drawbacks is that it supposedly only manages to generate about 20% of the electricity that traditional solar panels can generate. However, we believe that every little bit helps, right? On top of that, the film is also able to absorb/block 80% of visible light, which means that it will be able to double up as a sunshade as well on those scorching hot summer days.