Sunlight is everywhere, but so far humanity’s efforts to harvest its energy have been restricted to solar farms and rooftop panels. A new analysis shows that transparent solar technologies that can be applied to windows, display screens, and cars could supply 40 percent of energy demand in the U.S.
I’ve started researching the science behind transparent solar glass, which shows great promise and will certainly revolutionize solar energy capture as prototypes become real products. I’ll be writing up an initial report and interviewing some of the key players in the Fall issue of TD, but wanted to outline and explain the technology behind transparent solar glass. And what it all means down the road. The numbers are staggering!
Ubiquitous Energy is a leader in this emerging field and their ClearView Power™ was recently demonstrated at the Glass Performance Days biennial glass industry event in Finland. Applied directly on glass using standard glass coating equipment, ClearView Power is a highly transparent, color neutral coating. Here’s the science – ClearView Power selectively absorbs and converts non-visible light (ultraviolet and infrared) to electricity while transmitting visible light. ClearView Power also doubles as a low-E and solar control coating in addition to its electricity generation by blocking infrared light that is commonly known as solar heat. The transparent solar coating can be applied to vertical surfaces of buildings, turning traditional windows into aesthetically pleasing, highly energy efficient, and electricity-generating windows that will appeal to architects, designers, and homeowners.
Image that! Using windows in homes and office buildings and converting them to solar panels. Another major player is SolarWindow™. SolarWindow can be applied to all four sides of tall towers, generating electricity using natural, shaded, and even artificial light. Conventional solar simply doesn’t work in shaded areas. Or perform under artificial light.
Let me repeat that last bit – perform under artificial light. So imagine a scenario where the windows of a building are capturing energy from natural light and converting it to electricity. That powers the lights in the building. Then, we’re capturing energy from the artificial light as well. It’s mind bending to think about.
Some very smart people are creating something revolutionary and TD will be involved in bringing awareness of the subject matter to our audience at TD. I have several interviews this coming week and look forward to reporting my initial thoughts in the mid-month October issue of TD’s new monthly newsletter, with a more in-depth report in the Fall issue of Technology Designer Magazine.