Revolutionary new solar windows could generate 50 times more energy than conventional photovoltaics
We’ve seen several transparent solar cell concepts on Inhabitat, but perhaps none with such ambitious claims as those made by SolarWindow Technologies. In a webinar today, the Maryland-based startup announced that their revolutionary power generating windows, which they claim can generate 50 times more energy than conventional solar panels, would soon hit the market. Unlike traditional and opaque PV technology, SolarWindow can be readily applied as a coating to any glass window or plastic surface and instantly generate electricity, even in artificial light and shade. The company claims that the SolarWindow technology can produce more energy at a lower cost and offers an incredibly fast ROI of just one year. That’s incredible, considering that conventional solar systems require at least 5 to 11 years for payback.
The concept of transparent solar cells that would transform glass-clad skyscrapers into solar farms and turn smartphone screens into solar panels is exciting, but nothing new. Last year, Michigan State University scientists unveiled a fully transparent solar concentrator that allows visible light through and uses organic molecules to guide ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths to the edges of the glass, where tiny photovoltaic cells turned the non-visible light into electricity. However, conversion efficiency for that prototype was only at 1%, whereas traditional solar panels typically reach 20 to 25% conversion efficiency.