It's true that Professor Michael Wong and his team at Rice have made an important breakthrough in the production of quantum dots, but it's not true that we're about to see a flood of cheap, highly efficient solar panels, powered by dots, on the market any time soon.
One reason for this is that quantum dots, like Buckytubes (called carbon nanotubes by non-Rice people) are useful in many other applications, besides solar panels.
In fact, solar panels are a sort of low-end use, dependent on mass production of a particular type of dot, made of cadmium selenide. In his research at Rice, Wong made two breakthroughs in the recipe for these dots.
First, he used a cheaper, safer catalyst, cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (it's sometimes used in high-grade shampoos), rather than the caustic alkylphosphonic acids (used in flame retardants) previously used. Second, 90% of the dots created by his method were tetrapods, with four molecular "legs" reaching into the solution. These happen to be the most efficient types of dots for use in solar panels.
While some quantum dots have photovoltaic properties, most scientific work with them over the last decade has been in medicine, where they can be used as chemical sensors in medical tests.