See-through Solar Technology Achieves New Breakthrough

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New Energy Technologies’ SolarWindow is a promising photovoltaic solar technology that we have been following for a while. SolarWindow’s promise is to generate electricity on see-through glass. In conjunction with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the company has successfully fabricated the largest-area organic photovoltaic (OPV) module ever produced at the Laboratory.

Scientists developing SolarWindow succeeded in fabricating a working module of 170 square centimeters (cm2), more than 14-times larger than previous OPV devices fabricated at NREL.

NREL is a global reference in solar photovoltaic research and has helped develop many of the current commercially available applications. NREL and New Energy have been working through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to advance the company’s SolarWindow technology for generating electricity on glass windows.

“The fabrication of a large-area see-through solar module of these dimensions is an important step in New Energy’s SolarWindow™ ongoing development,” stated Dr. David S. Ginley, an award-winning NREL Research Fellow and accomplished expert in transparent conductors and OPV. “We believe that building integrated applications provide a promising avenue for OPV deployment and we are continuing to work with New Energy Technologies to further address scale-up, a key milestone toward developing a deployable technology.”

These electricity-generating coating consist mainly of ‘polymers’. They are first designed and subsequently produced by way of organic synthesis; they are then applied to glass using various methods, including high-speed, high-volume industrial processes important to the eventual commercial manufacturing of SolarWindow products.

Once electricity-generating polymers are applied to a material surface, the resultant effect is the production of an OPV cell. The prospect of SolarWindow products generating electricity on see-through glass is made possible by way of the unique architecture associated with this fabrication of the OPV device.

New Energy Technology’s latest solution-coating technique has already been demonstrated as compatible with roll-to-roll (R2R) high-speed and high-volume fabrication methods, which means it would be suitable for very-large scale manufacturing. The company says its technology offers several advantages over first-generation solar products in terms of manufacturing, such as low temperature, low labor costs, decreased capital equipment expenditure, reduced cost of energy required for production, and improved environmental and occupational control. Market potential is also huge as SolarWindow could be applied on 85 million commercial and residential buildings in America.

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

  • Tobias Schunck

    Any info on yield, projected costs, etc?

    This is highly interesting, but begs for answers as to the commercial viability.

  • http://www.gigsolar.com João Martins

    Prezado Antonio Pasolini,

    Brasileiro, como você, conduzo um dos mais avançados projetos de geração de energia TermoSolar (heliotérmica)em grande escala. Entretanto, tenho insistido em viver em nosso “país tropical, abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza”, onde, investidores em projetos inovadores inexistem. Lhe garanto: Se o mundo conhecer meu projeto, o mundo será beneficiado. Talvez, meu compatriota possa ajudar a divulgar.

    Caso do seu interesse, aqui está um link de nota da Revista Época sobre este assunto: http://colunas.revistaepoca.globo.com/felipepatury/2012/01/06/boa-ideia-da-semana-uma-revolucao-na-energia-solar/

    Abraço,

    João Martins

    e-mail: jdcmartins@hotmail.com

    • http://www.energyrefuge.com Antonio

      Olá João: Muito obrigado pelo contato e parabéns pela pesquisa. Vou ler o artigo com calma e entro contato por email. Até breve! A.