A Redwood City start-up is developing windows that can catch and collect solar energy. At the Ubiquitous Energy headquarters, the conference room is already being powered by the windows.
Source: KPIX CBS SF Bay Area/Youtube
One problem with solar power is finding enough space for all of the panels. These windows eliminate that issue and put the energy-catching windows on something we already all have!
“That’s kind of the problem we set out to solve with our technology. How can you make solar technology that’s completely invisible? And by making it invisible, now we can apply it to many more surfaces,” Miles Barr, UE’s co-founder and Chief Technology Officer told KPIX 5.
Barr explained that the company invented an invisible coating made of photosensitive dyes that can capture energy from nonvisible infrared and ultraviolet spectrums. This allows windows to still be see-through while benefitting from the sunlight that’s shining through them.
“So, you can use the full surface, the full vertical surface of a glass skyscraper to generate electricity that can be used by the building,” he explained to KPIX 5. “You could actually generate up to 30% of a building’s energy needs just from the glass surface on the building.”
Although more research will need to be done to know the possible impact these could have, KPIX 5 reported that every year more than 20 billion square feet of window glass is installed around the world (which is enough to circle the earth 100 times.)
CEO Susan Stone told KPIX 5 their windows are an innovation that offers change without sacrifice.
“You were going to put that glass in anyway. So we’re not talking about putting in an entire new solar system,” Stone said. “We’re talking about, you’re buying a window and now do you want to pay a little bit more so your window produces electricity as well? I mean, this is disruptive, right? Solar in a place that it’s never been before, where nobody’s ever imagined solar could be.”
The company has teamed up with Andersen Windows and they are expected to begin full-scale production in 2024. The technology has so many amazing possibilities and could be installed in large buildings and even residential homes. But the company is shooting even higher than that. The coating could possibly be applied to any surface so devices and even parked cars could charge themselves. What an exciting time for moving towards a renewable future!
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