Whatâs happening right now
So far the notion of a self-sufficient house has not moved beyond the world of ideas. However, some new developments in the field of solar power generation could make it a reality. Nowadays, apart from the large scale solar power plants, researchers are trying to use new techniques of generating electricity from the sunlight for general purposes. Such as for street lighting in rural areas or for recharging mobile gadgets like laptops and ipods by stitching a thin film of photovoltaic cells on the clothes.
The production of energy generating smart windows can be seen as an extension of this trend, as you will see below.
1. Peer+ unveils energy generating windows with controllable opacity
Developed by the Dutch company Peer+, the Smart Energy Glass is capable of using the solar radiation and the blocked light for generating electricity, which can be further used for switching the window in three different modes – dark, privacy and bright. The Smart glass can control its opacity for filtering the sunlight and using it for generating energy. These windows are available in several colors.
2. New Energy Technologies to unveil see-through glass SolarWindow
The SolarWindow is capable of generating energy from both the natural and artificial sources of light. Developed by the US-based New Energy Technologies, the new technology seek to end the limitation of opaque solar panels and allow them to be used as windows in houses. It has been made up of the small organic solar cells developed by Dr. Xiaomei Jiang at the University of South Florida.
3. Oxford company developing energy-generating windows
The Oxford Photovoltaics has developed a new mechanism for developing screen-printed organic solar cells that produce electricity when placed on the window panes. The new technology imitates photosynthesis process of the plants with the help of dye-sensitive organic solar cells that would activate the electrons by creating a current. It could be applied on all types of windows.
4. RSI-SOLAR unveils the windows of the future
Developed by the Rainbow Solar Inc. (RSi), the transparent photovoltaic-glass windows would be able to generate 80-250 watts of power which can be further used for heating or cooling purposes. The photovoltaic-glass windows would decrease the heat inside the house by capturing the sunlight. Based on a multi-tier photovoltaic and heat insulation technology, these windows would also have optional electrical privacy curtain.
The energy generating smart windows are based on transparent photovoltaic-glass windows that act as solar panels for generating electricity. The existing solar panels are able to produce electricity from the sunlight with the help of semiconductors that exhibit photovoltaic effect. These materials develop electric current when exposed to sunlight. But the panels made of these semiconductors are opaque and couldn’t be used in the windows.
However, researchers have been able to produce smaller organic solar cells that can be applied on the glass windows with the help of nanotechnology and wouldn’t affect the beauty of the house.
The energy generating windows would provide multiple advantages to the energy-hungry world of present. Some of them can be summed up as following.
1.The energy so produced would be cheaper and completely green.
2. It will help in building self-sufficient houses of the future.
3. It will reduce the over dependence on non-renewable sources of energy.
3. It will help in promoting a sustainable lifestyle with the ultimate use of technology and existing space.
At a time when most of the houses are using larger amount of glass in the windows and walls, the prospect of producing electricity for the household from the glass windows could start a whole new trend of self-sufficient houses in the world. As we have seen in the above few trends, many technology companies have already started the production of energy generating windows and it is just a matter of time when this trend would become a common phenomenon all over the world. However, the overall effectiveness of smart windows would be tested in hotter climates.