Remember how fast the cell phone industry revolutionized? Moving from blocks, to flip phones to smart phones in a matter of a few years. The business of solar is moving at a similar clip. And this new introduction make just be a massive disrupter.

Imagine a future when solar cells can be sprayed or printed onto the windows of skyscrapers or atop sports utility vehicles -- and at prices potentially far cheaper than today’s silicon-based panels.

It’s not as far-fetched it seems. Solar researchers and company executives think there’s a good chance the economics of the $42 billion industry will soon be disrupted by something called perovskites, a range of materials that can be used to harvest light when turned into a crystalline structure.

The hope is that perovskites, which can be mixed into liquid solutions and deposited on a range of surfaces, could play a crucial role in the expansion of solar energy applications with cells as efficient as those currently made with silicon. One British company aims to have a thin-film perovskite solar cell commercially available by the end of 2018.

Read More