W.S. Sampath, a professor of mechanical engineering at Colorado State has developed a more efficient and less expensive solar panel. The new panels are made using a glass coating with a cadmium telluride thin film instead of the usual crystalline silicon. The company (AVA Solar) that he formed along with two former students of his expects to produce panels for less than $1 per watt that would be sold to consumers for about $2 per watt, or about half of the current cost of solar panels. AVA Solar was recently awarded a $3 million grant from the US DOe’s Solar America Initiative. They’re hoping to produce enough panels to generate about 200 megawatts per year by the end of 2008.