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The next niche market for solar? Drones—yes, drones

Adrian Sainz/AP

The idea that solar is a nice, soft technology that only liberals could love reaches back into the 1970s. It was there that the counterculture adopted solar energy as an alternative to the fossil fuels that dominated (and still dominate) the American energy mix. Solar became a symbol that Reaganites were happy to pillory in the 1980s, and that political divide continued into this century.
But in the most recent green tech wave, solar politics have become a lot more complicated. While solar's biggest proponents traditionally hailed from blue California, red Arizona has been installing photovolatics at a tremendous pace, especially for its population size.
But it's not just geography that's changing the solar political picture. Solar power is increasingly useful to the Department of Defense. And that's a niche market that Alta Devices, which makes an ultra-efficient, ruggedized solar cell is hoping to make money. 

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