Magnolia Solar Corporation (OTC.QB: MGLT), a developer of new thin-film solar cell technologies using nanostructured materials, Magnolia Solar competes in the solar energy industry with companies like Ascent Solar Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: ASTI) and First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR).

We live in an exciting time and a decidedly China-phobic political climate. This raises a whole throng of complicated questions and issues, but thankfully, it keeps the renewable energy conversation in play. Nuclear power and wind energy still remain viable alternative sources of power, but solar energy emerges as the most important – especially in terms of allowing the United States to reclaim some sway as a competitive and innovative superpower. Let us review.

A 2010 report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) stated that net world electricity generation will reach 35.2 trillion kilowatt hours by 2035, and electricity demand is increasing twice as fast as overall energy use. By next year, the thin-film solar technology market share will double to 31 percent of overall wattage used. The amount of photovoltaic installations doubles almost every year globally, and the solar photovoltaic market will be in the ballpark of $100 billion by as early as 2014 thanks to California’s sizable demand. According to an early 2011 statement from futurist, inventor, and all-around-mad-genius, Ray Kurzweil, solar power will satisfy all of these increasing energy requirements for everybody by the year 2027 (and he’s almost never wrong). It’s a brave new world folks, and it doesn’t matter if you’re financially and/or romantically invested in the old guard of fossil fuels. Those dirty and clunky sources of energy have been obsolete for years, and eventually, they must die out. We’re all moving on, and small cap companies like Magnolia Solar, Inc. (OTCBB: MGLT) are leading the charge for demonstrating ultra-high efficiency thin film solar cell.

The window of time is now open to strip away the Chinese energy monopoly. And, in the wake of the U.S. Commerce Department’s tariff on China’s solar imports, American companies like Real Goods Solar Inc. (RSOL) and Magnolia Solar ( MGLT) are seizing the reigns. However, MGLT is unique in its product’s unprecedented efficiency as well as in its government sponsorship. The Company licensed its core technology under development from Magnolia Optical Technologies, Inc. (Magnolia Optical), and since December 2011, MGLT’s team has been designing and fabricating thin-film solar photovoltaic solar cells from their home base at the Albany Nanotech Center.

MGLT’s revolutionary thin-film solar panels capture a larger section of the light spectrum from the sun using relatively inexpensive materials like flexible substrates and various coatings. Perhaps this is one of several reasons why MGLT has a long and prosperous history of collaborating with the federal government. Earlier this month, MGLT received a $750,000 Phase II award from the United States Air Force as part of the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. The goal of this two-year program is to develop ultra-high efficiency, thin-film solar cells that provide mobile electrical power for defense and commercial applications in space as well as on the ground. The work on this contract complements the work on high-efficiency solar cells previously funded by the Air Force and announced in November 2011.

Dr. Ashok K. Sood, President and CEO of Magnolia Solar Corporation, stated, “We are working to improve the efficiency of photovoltaic devices via novel materials combined with innovative device designs. Quantum dot structures with excellent structural and optical properties were demonstrated during the Phase I program and are intended to be incorporated into advanced photovoltaic devices during the Phase II effort. These structures have the potential to enable photovoltaic devices to reach new levels of performance for power output efficiency.”

Current approaches are reaching practical limits due to the complex design and hefty cost of multi-junction solar devices. With that shot in the proverbial arm from the U.S. Air Force, MGLT’s developing nanostructured solar cells have the potential to deliver ultra-high efficiencies in single-junction devices — efficiencies that can potentially approach 50 percent in un-concentrated sunlight. This would mean a less complex, more efficient and ultimately cheaper source of energy for everybody.

Tina Casey of www.triplepundit.com likened MGLT’s solar advancements as well as the company’s forays into space and defense applications to President Obama’s talk of transformational projects like Transcontinental Railroad, the computer chip and the Internet in his address to the nation at the beginning of September. If there’s any truth to the predictions of Ray Kurzweil, and if energy demand does indeed continue to increase at exponential rates, Casey’s lofty analogies may have even understated the value of solar power milestones from Magnolia Solar, Inc. and other companies like it.

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