Global energy needs are expected to grow by at least 25% by the year 2040, underscoring the need for alternative energy sources to supplement our current fossil fuel-based energy supply. Among these alternative sources, solar power is sustainable and many solar cell devices are already on the market, demonstrating commercial viability. Many of these third generation solar cells rely upon nanomaterials for light absorption and charge transport. Quantum dots (QD) are a widely studied nanomaterial capable of absorbing sunlight in nearly the entire range of visible colors. QD based solar films are promising candidates for the next wave of consumer market solar technology. However, greener, simpler, and more cost efficient syntheses must be established before widespread production is practical. Organic solvents used to synthesize and store quantum dots and to spin coat thin films are expensive and toxic to the environment. An encouraging alternative is water based self-assembly that not only minimizes threats to the environment, but also simplifies film production by allowing nanocomposites to be fabricated via inkjet printing. This research explores the synthesis of oleic acid-capped cadmium selenide (CdSe) nanoparticles rendered water-soluble via a biphasic ligand exchange with 3-mercaptopropanesulfonate. These semiconductor nanoparticles may be dispersed in bicontinuous, polymeric conductive networks that support electron and hole transport. Successful syntheses of CdSe nanoparticles were confirmed using electronic absorption, nuclear magnetic resonance, and fluorescence spectroscopies. CdSe nanoparticles were dispersed in commercial inks to fabricate nanocomposite films. Surface morphology and the influence of surface ligands on nanoparticle polydispersity were studied using atomic force and scanning electron microscopies. The exploration of these facile self-assembly methods using water-soluble QDs and inkjet printing offer new green routes to easily fabricate solar networks with improved commercial viability.