A California company's new, sun-sucking glass tubes aim to solve solar power's practical problems, the Economist reports. Chief among them are flat panels that miss the sun—by looking the wrong way—and cost more than $40,000 per household to install. Solyndra's new technology uses glass tubes that capture sunlight from all sides, at about half the cost.
Solyndra is eying the commercial rooftop market, which offers some 30 billion square feet of rooftop across the US. Solyndra's glass tubes could spark 150 gigawatts of electricity on those roofs and power nearly 16 million homes, says CEO Chris Gronet.