Solar windows offer view of low carbon future

April 1, 2016

Windows of the future will not only generate solar power, but will also provide greater temperature control in buildings.

This is the goal of a new research programme by the Centre for Process Innovation, a UK-based technology innovation centre that’s part of a consortium developing building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) devices.

The project aims to develop a BIPV window that is capable of both generating power and controlling temperature. Commercialisation of this type of device would reduce building energy costs and offer architects greater freedom in structural design.

However, in order to aid the mass-market adoption of BIPV, developmental work is needed

Low carbon in the high rise: a building integrated photovoltaic window
Low carbon in the high rise: a building integrated photovoltaic window

to progress the technology from prototype to the manufacturing volumes and performance characteristics that industry requires.

The consortium behind the project, called Power Generating & Energy Saving Windows, also includes materials supplier Merck and BIPV producer Polysolar.

The project will focus on organic PV technology, rather than conventional silicon. The aim is to achieve similar installation costs, transparency, performance and lifetime to that of high performance glazing currently used in industry, whilst providing energy yields comparable to those delivered by conventional photovoltaics in a vertical orientation.

Dave Barwick, principal scientist at the CPI explained: “Once concluded, the project will provide the industry with the required lifetimes, dimensions and price points needed to evaluate how to take this emerging technology to market.”

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