by Debra Atlas
The growth of solar is exploding. As the technology continues to improve, the focus for commercial buildings is solar, but with a twist.
Not all commercial buildings can handle large solar arrays on their
One of the leading contenders in the U.S. is New Energy Technologies, a building integrator photovoltaic (BIPV) developer in Maryland. Their chief focus – a product called SolarWindow™ – is a spray-on solution of solar cells that allows windows to generate electricity. First announced in 2010, the idea of this solar film caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in 2011. NET now has an exclusive world-wide licensing agreement with the University of South Florida, and a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with NREL to advance SolarWindow technology. rooftops. Between the weight of the solar panels and the fixed angle of the buildings, standard solar panels aren’t a one-size-fits-all. Because of this, the new technology of smaller solar cells embedded in glass has become a race to see who will perfect and make this available first.
The current glass module for these innovative glass windows measures 6 inches by 6 inches and is the largest solar module produced under the direction of New Energy’s leading scientist, Dr. Scott R. Hammond, and his in-house R&D team/ With several easily seen-through neutral colors, this new prototype glass is 35 percent larger than the company’s earlier version, which was already 14 times larger than the organic photovoltaics produced by NREL.
Even more exciting are SolarWindow’s capability and adaptability. Where traditional solar depends on direct full-strength sunlight to create electricity, these new solar windows can operate in direct, diffuse, and shaded sunlight conditions. That means they’ll work on all four sides of a building, without needing direct sunlight. They’ll also generates electricity from both natural and artificial light sources such as fluorescent, light emitting diodes (LEDs), and incandescent lights in offices – something impossible for conventional solar panels to do.Other advancements include the time it takes to coat the glass panes. Originally it took a few days to apply the solar coating. Now it only takes a few hours.
This is a first-of-its-kind spray-on solar solution incorporating see-through glass windows. This advanced prototype won the Energy Innovation Award for 2013 by Energy Business Review (EBR).
New Energy Technology’s CEO John Conklin says part of his company’s objectives is to develop this technology utilizing low cost, high-speed and high-volume manufacturing methods and processes. Plans are to make it affordable for use in new construction and retrofitting. It’s currently under development for commercial deployment in an estimated 80 million detached homes and more than 5 million commercial buildings.
The federal government estimates the U.S. can save $40 billion annually by reducing energy use in commercial buildings by 20 percent by 2020. According to a video from New Technologies, a conventional skyscraper outfitted with solar windows could realize more than 2 times more savings annually than conventional solar panels. That’s a big difference.
When installed on commercial buildings and skyscrapers, this kind of solar glass window would go a long way towards making these buildings self-powered, something the owners of large commercial buildings currently can only dream about.
Conklin’is company anticipates fabrication of a commercial scale SolarWindow arrays within the next few years.The company is publicly traded as ticker symbol: NENE on the OTCQB exchange in the U.S.
Useful links for more information:
- New Energy Technologies: http://www.
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory: http://www.nrel.
- Energy Innovation Award: http://bit.ly/1r2JIEj
- Video: http://youtu.be/BohznWrTrO8
Debra Atlas can be reached via her website www.Eco-hub.com or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.