Windows That Double As Solar Panels

Organin Solar Concentrators

MIT researchers have announced that they have created “organic solar concentrators” that could make windows become powerful solar panels in as little as three years. The concentrator is mixture of two or more dyes painted onto a pane of glass or plastic. The dyes absorb light across a range of wavelengths, re-emit it at a different wavelength and transport it across the pane to the solar cells at the edges. Focusing the light like this increases the electrical power generated by each solar cell by a factor of 40. The advantages are twofold: the dyes greatly increase the power of solar cells, and homeowner are much more likely to incorporate solar glass into their homes.
The work was funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Scientists had tried using similar solar concentrators in the 1970s, but abandoned the idea when not enough of the collected light reached the edges of the concentrator. The MIT engineers revamped the idea by using a mixture of dyes in specific ratios, which allows some level of control over how the light is transmitted.

More details can be found here.

Comments

  1. says

    Very Interesting Article! Do you know if these Solar Windows can be combined with meta energy efficient windows to both generatee electricity and save it? It would also be interesting to see possible multi-junction solar dyes with concentrators.

  2. says

    Solar Illuminations (a ‘green’ corporation who has its headquarters in Florida) are likely to be offering solar powered glass panels in 2010. Basically they will look no different than a regular piece of glass and can be tinted various shades too. From inside and outside the building it looks like regular glass. However, the great feature is that the glass is actually a solar panel and will therefore create electricity. Imagine a tall building, fitted with hundreds of solar glass panels. Then, imagine one, two or three entire sides of the building using this solar glass. There is a huge potential to capture a large amounts of energy, hundreds of kilowatts! That energy can be used to supply power within the building, or put back into the grid and sold to the electric company, or a combination of the two. Amazing? Well, that is what Solar Illuminations is all about. They are taking solar energy one step further! Not only will this new, patented technology be available for new construction but also for retro-fitting both commercial and residential properties.

  3. says

    Solar Panel Savings Measurement Tool – The website http://www.mysolar2020.com allows us to check how much will we actually save by installing solar panels on our roof. To calculate the savings, the website considers the square feet area currently available to install solar panels, available sunlight and its intensity in every state (of USA), in each month of the year, and the energy (kWh) we are currently consuming

  4. says

    That’s awesome! They are coming up with some really cool ideas lately like concentrating photons by reflection onto smaller photo-voltaic panels and now this. It’s going to be really interesting to see what will happen in 10 years with solar energy. Keep up the good writing!

  5. says

    Woow, great improvement. I think that in the future most of the surfaces will be coated with organic solar panels so everything will produce cheap energy. For example could electric vehicles produce their own energy by a coat of organic solar cells which are on the paint. Maybe its not enough to recharge the battery but its a contribution and reduces the addiction from public charging systems.

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