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Integrated solar panels get a boost

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The 2010 Toyota Prius has 'em. The White House is on its second set. Israel just rolled out a pretty slick array.

It seems like electricity-bill-reducing solar panels are showing up just about everywhere these days (including space!)

But if a rooftop array seems out of the question, or if this isn't something you think your neighbors would appreciate, an announcement this week from Konarka Technology could be encouraging. The Massachusetts company makes flexible organic photovoltaic cells that look more like rolls of film than silicon panels. This week they signed a deal with Florida's Arch Aluminum to put their products into commercial building materials – including windows.

"Until today, aesthetic and performance concerns limited the ability of architects to use [integrated photovoltaic] technology in their designs," Arch CEO Leon Silverstein said in a statement.

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