Is Solar Glass the Future?
As with all great British innovations1 solar glass has been hailed as an eco-friendly revolution set to generate electricity without you even knowing it. Set to generate 12%2 of the solar energy received into low carbon electricity3 solar panels are believed to achieve ROI after just 1 year4 Solar glass or Transparent Photovoltaic glass, allows natural light into buildings, patios and forecourts while enhancing your home or business’ green credentials.
Building integrated Photovoltaic glass is one of the world’s fastest growing energy technology segments5, used to replace skylights, façades, and sash windows. Solar glass is more than just coloured glass, it incorporates special materials on the glass which let sunlight in, while repelling solar heat. The technology incorporates a layer of solid state solar cells to convention glass, and when the sun’s rays hit, they excite photons in silicon cells, which means electrons are knocked off the silicon cell, which in turn creates a voltage which can be harvested from wiring around the glass(6)(7).
BIPV windows are an elegant solution to producing electricity directly on site, directly from the sunlight, without any pollution and maintenance. Some of the most notable projects are the CIS tower in Manchester England, a grade 2 listed building which generates over 20KW a year8
It is thought that a solar control glass could save approximately 5% to 25% of the EU’s target of 300 million tonnes of CO29, and will eliminates the need for air conditioning in all new buildings of northern Europe 10 Solar glass can help maintain the heat within a building by blocking sunlight and therefore removing the expense of internal air conditioning as well as trapping the solar energy and converting it into reusable energy.
Francesca Coleman-Carr at Sash Windows London states “This is a really interesting technology that we have been incorporating into our business model. Clients not only get beautifully crafted sash windows but their windows will silently generate energy for their household while saving the homeowner money”.
“We are looking to make this technology viable for all types of homesteads as to some extent it depends on the building’s design and systems can be complex to install. But new green planned homes are looking to use BIPV systems from the get go”.
Sash windows London have been looking at the future of window installation and believe that in the future most windows will be BIPV enabled, as Francesca states: “Solar glass represents a fantastic opportunity to capitalise on green energy and Sash Windows London ltd intend to be at the forefront of this cutting edge technology; helping to make the world a greener and cheaper place in the future”.
10. http://www.glassforeurope.com/images/cont/116_6969_file.pdf Table 1