[Red Herring] It started with a chance conversation between two scientists. Now it might lead to the revival of a technology that could help ease the growing pains of the solar energy industry. Scientists at SRI International, a Menlo Park, California-based nonprofit research institute, have dusted off an old technology to make solar-grade silicon more cheaply, updated it, and licensed the technology to three Asian companies. SRI says pilot plants could be up and running in 18 months. The discovery could be just what the solar power industry needs.