U.S. scientists have put luminescent solar concentrators in a windowpane to absorb certain light wavelengths and transmit them to solar cells. The concentrators are made of a conjugated polymer sandwiched between window layers.
The solar cell was developed by Korean scientists for power-generating window applications. They built the device with transparent conducting oxide (TCO) rear contacts and a textured polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) layer with light-scattering and antireflection properties.
Solar windows are only likely to reach commercial maturity when manufacturers consider how they can add “soft” value to buildings, as required by the construction industry. In order to increase this value, increasing their conversion efficiency will become less important, while understanding how to blend them into the existing value chain in the real estate business will be crucial.
A prototype of an energy-harvesting, solar-powered smart window device has been developed by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. The window was created by integrating a semi-transparent perovskite solar cell and a multi-layer nanophotonic coating.
The building-integrated PV devices have taken a big leap forward on the back of a partnership between Australian scientists and a major glass manufacturer which will investigate the use of semi-transparent solar cells in commercial applications, potentially revolutionizing building design.
The lure of building integrated photovoltaics continues to attract entrepreneurs and startups.
Can an organic solar cell material finally be commercialized? Last year, Ubiquitous Energy claimed a world record for efficiency of a “transparent solar cell” with a “certified” 9.8% efficiency.