There is a list of reasons why windows are awesome things to have in any room, and Sharp just added to that list: the company has announced the release of see-through solar cell modules designed to act as architectural glass.
Starting October 1st, customers in Japan will be able to buy power-generating windows from Sharp. The idea is to combine solar power generation (always a great thing to have) with lots of natural light (another great thing to have). The new solar cell module does it, and does it fairly well.
Where a standard roof-top installation requires a metal frame and rows of bright blue panels, the new Sharp system consists of what looks like simple smoky dark glass. Sharp suggests that it can be used as standard window glass, balcony railings, on the roof, or anywhere else one would like to see black glass decorating a building.
Light, Power, (No) Heat
With the need for a metal framework eliminated, the see-through system can be installed as a laminated glass structure. Each panel contains rows of solar cells, carefully arranged so that a moderate amount of natural light still shines through to the other side. It even acts as a heat shield, further reducing energy costs.
Sharp claims that the system can be totally integrated with either residential or industrial buildings (and they can be pre-ordered now), but the company doesn’t seem to be offering the product outside Japan. If you want to try your luck: the product number is NA-B095AA and the product name is See-Through Solar Cell Module (shiisuruu taiyoudenchi mojuuru). Sharp also has yet to announce pricing for the new units (the bit where it says suggested retail price simply says “open”).
Questions or comments? Let us know below.