This is a cross-cutting question but I think its core is about biology. Our society's need for energy is dramatically growing and we are messing up with our environment to answer them. Maybe another way to proceed would be to use the primary energy source that is the sun in the same way as it has been used throughout the ages: photosynthesis.
I know the energy effiency is not as good as a solar panel's but it could clearly be compensated by volume. I found surprisingly little information about harvesting energy from photosynthesis which is why I began to wonder where we are at today.
Edit I meant transforming the chemical energy generated by photosynthesis into electrical energy. For instance, the first algae powered building was unveiled at the International Building Exhibition hosted in Hamburg. This is a whole different approach. The most basic example of what I would like to talk about seems to be the algae powered lamp that has (apparently) been developped. In other words, it seems that some sort of plant solar panels are under development and I don't understand how it's done.