by: Essex Porter Updated:
Gov. Jay Inslee is spending $6 million to establish a Clean Energy Institute at the University of Washington and today he went to see what that money is buying.
Inslee campaigned on creating a clean energy economy which he believes is crucial to sustaining the planet. He wants Washington State to be at the forefront of selling the products that produce it.
On tour of the institute, Inslee was shown a less expensive way of producing solar panels. Graduate students are developing a paint that can create electricity like a solar cell. Made from cheap materials like zinc and tin, the UW approach is cheaper that traditional solar cells made from silica.
"Right now, solar cells are made like high-technology, like computer chips, but we want to make them cheap like newspaper," Clean Energy Institute Associate Director David Ginger told Inslee.
The governor was clearly impressed. "Being able to develop photovoltaics and build them much more quickly, much more cheaply is perhaps one of the single most important things we have to do to beat climate change," Inslee said. "And the fact that it can come out of a lab right here at the University of Washington, it doesn't get much better than that."