UCSB Professor Alan Heeger recently won Italy’s $156,000 Eni Italgas Prize for his research on energy and the environment in connection with work he’s done on the creation of solar energy cells. Rather than build large, silicon-based installations, Heeger wants to create thinner, cheaper solar panels. The hope is that such panels, while not as energy-efficient, would be far cheaper to manufacture and easier to install. Heeger said his research is still years away from a commercial application, but that he’s proven it can be done.


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