Electricity-Generating Windows Could Turn Skyscrapers into Solar Farms

The 'windows of tomorrow' may do a lot more than just provide a pretty view.

9. 9. 16 by Jelor Gallego
Business Wire
Image by Business Wire

Solar Skyscrapers

Tesla may be at the forefront of solar technologies right now, with their merger with SolarCity bringing the technology full circle. In fact, one of their newer developments is a rumored “solar roof,” an actual roof that functions as solar panels.

But what if I told you that a company is looking at turning not just your roof but all your windows into solar panels? SolarWindow has announced that they are working on “transparent electricity-generating veneers.” In other words, transparent solar cells that can be applied to existing windows.

The company is looking at tapping the skyscraper market, which consumes 40% of the electricity generated in the US. The company asserts that its technology could cut energy expenditures of the 5 million tall towers in the US by 50%, and supposedly provide 50-times greater energy than rooftop solar (according to their models).

Improving technologies

SolarWindow notes that they started out making liquid coatings that could be applied into windows that would make them solar panels.

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“We apply liquid coatings to glass and plastic surfaces at ambient pressure, and dry these coatings at low temperature to produce transparent films,” CEO John Conklin noted to Digital Trends. “We repeat these processes, and then collectively these coatings — and thus the glass and plastic surfaces — generate electricity.”

This new transparent veneer offering eschews the liquid application process. Instead, the products will come as glass that could be fastened to existing windows, turning them to solar panels.

These products would have a “fastening” side and a transparent, electricity-generating side. Their own interconnection system would then be connected to the building’s electricity supply or to fixtures and equipment.

The company has yet to release relevant dates and more detailed information regarding these veneer products, but they are promising more in the near future.

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