Earth’s need for clean energy becomes more evident with each demonstration of the shortcomings of fossil and nuclear energy sources. All carbon-free and nuclear-free energy sources will play important roles in our energy future, but only solar energy can in principle provide all of our energy needs. I will describe current market and technology landscapes for photovoltaics, introduce the use of quantum dots (QDs) as electronic materials, and provide an overview of the developing field of colloidal QD-based thin film solar cells. Although many R&D efforts pursue the fabrication of thin film photovoltaic devices from solution-based particle and nanoparticle (QD) starting materials, these efforts often anneal the deposited particle films to create polycrystalline thin films with grain sizes much larger than those of interest for quantum confinement effects. In contrast, we refer to “QD based solar cells” as those which retain their quantum confined optical properties. Attaining good charge carrier transport within films of QDs represents one of several unique challenges (and opportunities) offered by QD solar cell starting materials.