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Solar Cost ­Cutter

April 20, 2010

A highly reflective thin film made of microlayers of silver and copper, protected by a polymer and backed with adhesive, could cut the cost of solar thermal power plants by hundreds of millions of dollars. In most such plants, glass mirrors concentrate heat from the sun to create steam that spins conventional turbines. The thin film–which replaces those mirrors–reflects more light, increasing power output.

Product: 3M Solar Mirror Film
Cost: $20 per square meter
Availability: Spring 2010
Companies: 3M