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Green Watch: SolarWindow Technologies

SolarWindow Principal Scientist Dr. Scott Hammond (left) with NREL scientist Dr. Scott Mauger, applying electricity-generating coatings to glass at the NREL lab.

The future of solar generated electricity is about to make a jump. A US company called SolarWindow Technologies is coming up with solar power window application for high-rise buildings. Once the solar transparent coatings are applied, the formerly passive windows will generate a good amount of the building’s electric needs, while being able to bank energy at the same time.  SolarWindow could offset 30 to 50 percent of the energy demand of a 50 story building.

For years, we’ve heard rumblings about solar advancements such as solar paint, but it looks like the SolarWindow concept is about to become a reality. With growing demand for electricity in years to come, and global warming taking center stage, this new technology is welcome news.

“…We believe that flexible glass can serve an even more valuable purpose by generating electricity using SolarWindow coatings,” said SolarWindow President and CEO John Conklin (lead image).

Instead of relying on dated energy sources, including fossil fuels, SolarWindow Technologies is offering a clear look into the future of solar power. SolarWindow panels are said to be 50 fold more efficient than rooftop solar panels. They are also cost efficient – high-rises will be able to recoup the original investments in a relatively short period of time, with under one year calculated financial payback. The photo voltaic process is not only efficient, it’s easy to manufacture (it’s liquid – liquid photovoltaic conductor), which helps to keep the costs down.

A single installation on a 50-story structure would equate to negating 2.2 million miles of CO2 vehicle pollution.

According to Conklin, a 50 story building typically yields 6 acres of glass. This technology would assumedly replace the need for giant solar arrays that tend to spread out over large land masses. It also frees up rooftops for other environmental applications, such as “Meadows in the Sky“. Aside from generating power, window panels can also be colored and tinted. From clean-line aesthetics to powering down greenhouse gas emissions, Conklin says that SolarWindow could be one of the greatest single innovations in clean energy history.

With applications for cars, cell phones, computers, airplanes or the military aside, using these coatings for homes and buildings could be revolutionary.

“Our first goal was to invent transparent liquid electricity-generating coatings for commercial use,” stated Mr. John Conklin, President and CEO of SolarWindow Technologies. “Now, our goals are to turn those inventions into fabricated commercial products and bring those products to market in order to turn entire buildings into vertical power generators.”

Solar Window is currently raising capital, developing commercial collaborations, and acquiring equipment and additional resources. An exact release date has not yet been announced.

Technology

  • SolarWindow scientists and engineers applied layers of the company’s liquid coatings on to Corning Willow Glass and laminated them under conditions that simulate the high pressure and temperatures of the manufacturing processes used by commercial glass and window producers. The result is a bendable glass ‘veneer’, as thin as a business card, which generates electricity
  • SolarWindow electricity-generating coatings withstand real-world environmental conditions, including extreme temperatures variations
  • Engineers confirmed the ability of SolarWindow electricity-generating coatings to withstand the high-stress rigors of the ‘autoclave’ manufacturing processes used by commercial glass and window producers. Autoclave-manufacturing is a common method of production for flat, curved, tempered and solar glass fabrication

Written by queenseyes

queenseyes

Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer | Newell@BuffaloRising.com

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