With reference to an article in the New York Times from yesterday. It seems that the wings of butterflies may serve as an inspiration to the development of solar energy.
Researchers say that butterfly wings are collectors of solar energy which helps them stay warm. Their shingle-like structure is being said to provide insight to improvements in the current solar technology and address the important issues of light manipulation and light harvesting abilities that are critical in solar energy devices.
Based on research, the wing structure of butterflies are composed of rectangular scales that overlap, similar to shingles on a roof. These scales also have steep ridges with small holes on either side, leading to a second layer. This allows direct light to reach the second layer which therefore helps the butterfly capture the maximum amount of heat.
The natural structure of these butterflies wings provide scientists with a strong basis to improve in solar technology and to maximise the capacity of solar energy that can be used effectively.
Have a read of this for more information: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/03/science/solar-energy-inspiration-from-butterflies.html