As I've mentioned before, there is this major energy and renewables revolution taking place right now, and it is moving so fast. I've read literally hundreds of articles on solar energy innovations poised to lower the cost and increase the output of collectors, all the way back from nanotechnology solar paints - an innovation that seems to have started at the University of Toronto maybe 8, 9 years ago. Sadly, I've not really been cataloguing these but I'm going to make a start on this now. Here are just this morning's findings:
The Mother Nature News website is really interesting:
And a Sixth one is here; Rectennas, or Nantennas - Definitely appears to be one of the more important leaps forward:
I've been working on other peoples projects again recently and one of them involves solar thermal technology, mainly because solar thermal can collect up to 80% of the solar energy that strikes it, as opposed to solar PV, which, though cheaper, still takes a lot of area at 15 to 21% efficiencies.
But for all those installing solar thermal on their roofs on projects happening right now, I recommend you also install a conduit or wiring for future PV panels to replace the thermal panels. Of course, I also recommend the roof structure be given some thought - don't just install the weakest cheapest roof to carry the snow and rain loads - make your roofs face the sun, and make them strong enough to carry solar panels, including hybrid panels, and energy storage panels!