EBR Energy has been working in the solar industry for over a decade and has witnessed numerous innovations in this sector that seemed impossible 10 years ago. Producing power through solar energy is one of the most efficient renewable energy mechanisms. It is clean and powerful, and becoming more and more cost-efficient with time. Just 2 decades ago, no one would have thought of solar panels becoming as accessible as they are today. So many companies are investing in the innovation of more efficient and cost effective solar panels. Another focus of these innovators is the “solar window”.
As the name suggests, solar windows absorb solar energy and produce power, hence solar windows are just like solar panels. They absorb UV and infrared rays and convert them into electricity. Currently, solar windows are not available for residential use but they have been installed for commercial use as a test drive by several companies. Some of the companies are in later stages of making this technology accessible more commonly for residential and commercial use.
If solar windows become cost efficient and accessible for residential use, there will no longer be a need for a huge landscape for solar panels and rooftop spaces for the production of electricity through sunlight. Many people are sensitive with the aesthetics of their building and this innovation can be a life-changer for those people since solar windows will be aesthetically appealing.
These types of technologies are often referred to as ‘building-integrated photovoltaics’ (BIPV). BIPVs are actually photovoltaic materials that are used instead of traditional building materials (e.g.: solar rooftops). The reason for why solar windows haven’t been produced commercially is explained below.
Hypothetically, solar windows will be transparent and will be able to replace our traditional window panes which means that these panes will be able to absorb UV and infrared lights to produce electricity and will not block sunlight from reaching indoors. Traditional solar panels are opaque. They absorb sunlight to produce electricity but do not let sunlight pass through the surface. Solar windows need to be able to let sunlight in (what else are windows meant for?) and also use the sunlight to produce cost effective electricity. Otherwise, it will only be a regular solar panel mounted vertically. Hence, for solar windows to enter the production market, they need to be cost efficient and see through!
Solar Windows Technologies:
There are different technologies that fall under the scope of solar windows. Some of these technologies are explained below:
Physee, a solar technology company based in Netherlands, has produced solar windows that are called PowerWindow. It uses small solar panels installed along the side edges of the regular window glass panes that generate electricity from the sun. These panes do not compromise on the visibility or aesthetics of the building. Physee have installed these panes only in one building as of now, a Dutch bank with more than 300 sqft of PowerWindows. These windows produce electricity that is enough to charge a few smartphones and hence cannot be used as the only source of electricity.
Transparent solar panels:
The technology that makes glass panes produce electricity using sunlight involves nanotechnology. These windows are designed with Quantum Dot Technology. Quantum Dot is a human-made nanoparticle that can act as a semiconductor, and can be used to produce electricity by absorbing solar energy.
Theoretically, these quantum dots embedded in window panes will be able to absorb sunlight and then re-emit infrared light in the direction of solar cells installed at the edges of window panes. Yet again, this technology is not available, and might not be for a few years to come, but there is a hope of an opportunity to make it work.
Solar panel blinds:
Another solution for solar windows that is also currently in the later stage of development is the solar panel blind. These are blinds that are hung either inside or outside of the windows. They have small solar panels installed along them that produce electricity via sunlight. These blinds can rotate automatically and follow the sun all through the day to produce maximum energy out of sunlight.
These new technologies are going to transform the whole solar energy landscape. Solar windows are just about to enter the market place. While they are on the way to be commercially available for use, the prices of our traditional solar panels are dropping rapidly. EBR Energy continues to provide consultancy and solar electric solutions for individuals, companies, industries, agricultural landowners, governments, and federal organizations alike.
Being one of the top solar companies in Pakistan with vast experience in the industry of solar energy, we have worked on one of the biggest solar energy projects of the country. EBR Energy is now providing free quotations for all your energy requirements. Contact us via email or reach out to us on social media to get a call from us and become independent of the national electric grid!