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"Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable, and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not."
- Isaac Asimov

Solar Electric Paint - Black Power  
  A black-colored paint that can be sprayed on, making any surface a solar power generator.  

This is such a great idea - there must be an engineer who can make this happen. All you would need as a flat surface that is angled to receive solar radiation and presto, you have solar power ready to use.

What's finally knocked the bottom out is this new solar electric paint. Black Power, they call it. It turns sunlight into electricity, just like any solar power converter, but you spray it on. Place your cables and then spray over them. All you need is sunlight and room.
From The Woman in Del Rey Crater, by Larry Niven.
Published by Flatlander in 1995
Additional resources -

You can already use black paint (matte black) to solar heat a room; if you have a big south-facing wall try it out. The conversion of solar power to electricity, though, that's a tall order without a panel full of ICs.

Read more about the history of photovoltaics, as well as a very early reference to solar power in sf, at the article on the sunpower screen - solar cell array for vehicle power from Robert Heinlein's 1940 story Coventry.

'Black Power' has seen a remarkable confirmation in real life - see Niven's 'Black Power' Now Available In Infrared.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Woman in Del Rey Crater
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven
  Tech news articles related to The Woman in Del Rey Crater
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven

Solar Electric Paint - Black Power-related news articles:
  - Niven's 'Black Power' Now Available In Infrared
  - Cheap Paint-On Flexible Solar Panels
  - Photovoltaic Paint On Steel Sheets By The Corus Group
  - Spray-On Nano-Ink Solar Cells
  - Solar Power Paint For Any Size Solar Cells
  - Printable Liquid Solar Cells
  - Transparent Solar Cell Film Has Clear Advantages
  - Peel And Stick Thin Film Solar Cells
  - Low Cost Spray-On Solar Cells
  - Colloidal Quantum Dots Make Spray-On Solar Cells Possible

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