Buildings Electricity generating windows

Published on May 17th, 2013 | by James Ayre


Solar Power Windows Fast Approaching Commercial Production

May 17th, 2013 by  

Commercial production of solar windows, using the patented SolarWindow spray-on solar power coating system, may be just around the corner. A recent announcement from US building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) developer New Energy Technologies Ltd. (which we’ve been following for years) has us feeling that the time may soon come.

Electricity generating windows

Image Credit: Euroglas

As per New Energy Technologies’ recent announcement, the big news is that the fabrication time of the technology has been greatly reduced. The fabrication process, which involves methodically spraying layers of extremely small solar cells onto glass, has been reduced from a couple of days to only a couple of hours. According to the company, the process has been cut to 1/6 of the previous fabrication time.

And perhaps as significantly, New Energy has also reported that it has achieved “a two-fold increase in power conversion efficiency” and improved the transparency of the glass. Here are some more notes from the company:

Researchers achieved today’s advances by way of a novel, patent-pending breakthrough, which enables fabrication of large-scale mini-module SolarWindow™ devices, important to commercial deployment of the world’s first-of-its-kind glass window capable of generating electricity.

Generating electricity on glass windows is possible when New Energy researchers spray ultra-small, see-through solar cells on to glass surfaces. These novel spray-on techniques have been pioneered, advanced, and unveiled in operating prototypes by scientists who initiated early research efforts with New Energy Technologies under a Sponsored Research Agreement at the University of South Florida (USF). The Company’s SolarWindow™ technology has since progressed significantly beyond early research, and is now in advanced product development.

For more details about the most recent announcement, check out the full press release.

For previous stories about New Energy’s SolarWindow technology, see:

Notably, however, New Energy Technologies isn’t the only company working on such technology (it may just be the leader). Also check out:

In other words, a lot of people are working on developing this technology and getting it to market.

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

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  • kyleweatherman

    this is first class website. It is very useful.

  • We provide glass products for some of Tennessee’s finest hotels,
    shopping centers, apartment buildings, industrial and office buildings.

  • How does this technology take care of the heat generated by the solar cells on the glass? My panels need air flow to stay cool.

  • Eric Wesoff

    Covering this company’s solar technology as if it were a real commercializable technology is questionable. This is an OTC firm with some type of organic solar cell. Organic Solar Cells for BIPV applications is a pipedream and the last business plan gasp of a doomed company. A solar panel needs to last 20 to 100 years. OSCs are notorious for low efficiency and poor reliability.

  • jburt56

    Imagine how much power you can get off the south face of a skyscraper.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Include the east and west walls and you end up with 260% as much.

      And a lot longer solar day.

      • jburt56

        Now include ultracapacitors integrated into each floor.

      • and if non window wall area is covered with traditional 22 % efficient solar panels, the 838 m tall residential tower can be almost self-sustaining in day time electricity generation needs.

    • Innovation comes to market?

      Don’t get me wrong, every bit helps, and this will be necessary for new construction under the forthcoming building codes. However, at these efficiencies and with florescent tube lighting still being the norm, I’m not sure that this will do much more than power the lighting of any building retrofitted with them. Once LED tube lighting becomes standardized and there is a significant reduction in energy needs for lighting, as well as an inevitable boost to the efficiencies of these cells, we can expect a more meaningful impact.

      As a separate potential issue, I wonder what effect these have on the light/quality of light filtering through. Will there be a an increased need for energy applied to lighting due to a loss of light energy entering a workspace? Will this screw with the wavelength of light coming through and cause health/mental issues for people on the inside? being that they have ??? materials sprayed onto them, is there any new requirements for disposal when they break or a building is razed? Finally, will this make windows a little bit easier for birds to discern and thus reduce the morbidity rate?

      • Beth

        Just curious, but are you a lawyer (jburt)?

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