Outfit your windows with transparent solar panels?

by
Anonymous Coward
in science on (#GTCK)
Despite the immense potential of solar energy, at present, roof-mounted photovoltaic panels are able at best to capture about 20% of the available energy. And that despite research that has led to gains! To improve energy generation, you either increase solar panel efficiency, or increase their coverage. Enter a Silicon Valley startup named "Ubiquitous Energy."

Ubiquitous Energy produces transparent solar cells using an organic chemical process they call "Clearview Power Technology." They claim their panels cost less than traditional tech and can be built 1000x thinner than a human hair. The system captures ultraviolet and infrared light and lets the rest pass through as it would normally.

National Geographic has a look at the technology here.

Is this an important step forward in solar power generation, or does adding windows to the mix constitute a gimmick? How do we get people more interested in solar energy?

[Ed. Note: the article image chosen here is of an invisible solar panel placed over the entirety of the text.]

First thought: GreenHouses (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-08-18 01:29 (#HP91)

The whole thing is transparent and they have high energy needs, so this would be ideal for them. Ditto for skyscrapers, as mentioned by others. Even at 10% efficiency (or less!), if the price point comes down enough, it will be just that much less energy that must be bought from the outside.

If they get REALLY cheap, this could be good in areas that get a lot of sun in winter, but it's low to the horizon so the light comes in the windows all day. The Russians and Chinese should be jumping on this since the Siberian High does just this, but even here in the Sonora Desert, the sun is low enough in winter that this could be a big deal if they're made cheap enough, even if the efficiency sucks.
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