“Glass with integrated solar cells which converts IR and some visible light into electricity – this means that the power for an entire building can be supplemented using the roof and façade areas”, in a recent article in the Business Insider – Photovoltaic Transparent Glass was listed as one of the 17 Emerging energy technologies that will change the world. This technology will become mainstream by 2020.
These transparent solar cells can be fitted onto a window and will be able to take care of a building’s energy requirements in the coming future. This could make it possible for buildings, houses or electronic devices to power themselves with the use of solar energy.
A start-up named Ubiquitous Energy, has been working in this direction – it develops technologies for light-harvesting in the form of products and surfaces – so that any surface with solar cells could produce energy. They have been awarded National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grant; and also the 2011 MIT Clean Energy Prize Renewables Category – apart from many others.
Oxford Photovoltaics based in Begbroke Science Park in UK, is developing a Photovoltaic technology to ‘deliver efficient and low-cost solar cells that can be applied as a thin film onto glass building facades’. They have also been recipients of many awards over the years from both the business and renewable energy communities, such as UK Business Angels Association and British Renewable Energy Awards.
Another company – Onyx Solar develops smart solar solutions for building Integrated Photovoltaic and currently they offer 10 – 30% of transparency degree of photovoltaic glasses from a wide range of solutions.
Research is ongoing at various universities as well, such as MIT, Oxford, UCLA and UC Santa Barbara, in this field of technology. And with advances in research, it’s not difficult to imagine that buildings would be able to generate power on their own – which will definitely bring about a big change in the world.
For more information, see the links- Business Insider – 17 Emerging Energy Technologies , Ubiquitous Energy , Oxford Photovoltaics ,