What if all the windows on an office tower could generate energy? Could this be possible with transparent solar panels?
A company called SolarWindow is producing a technology to turn windows into solar panels via a transparent coating. The biggest upside for SolarWindow is that you can apply the solar coating to existing windows. This means that every glass covered office tower could potentially become power plant.
According to the company:
“Our secret is the application of SolarWindow™ coatings to the many vast acres of window glass on a tall tower, turning an entire building into a source of clean, renewable energy.
Conventional solar systems cannot be applied in this way, and are instead limited to only a handful of square feet on congested rooftops. These very small tower rooftops are often crowded with service systems such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and elevators. These spaces are also expected to offer tenant-amenities such as rooftop gardens and pools, and other high-footprint features.
Traditional solar also requires direct sunlight and cannot operate in shaded areas, a key advantage for SolarWindow™ applications where all four sides of a tower becomes a clean power-generator.
Importantly, our engineers have designed and tested SolarWindow™ to generate electricity from artificial light such as the fluorescent systems found inside offices, schools, and commercial buildings. Today’s solar systems do not perform well indoors or under artificial light.”
We will reserve judgement until the company has had a chance to pilot the technology on a few buildings. If the technology works at a reasonable cost then it will truly revolutionize the solar industry.