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Solar Windows: The Future of Your Facilities?


By Dan Hounsel Power & Communication

A new generation of see-through solar cell technology could soon be used to harvest the massive energy potential of windows in institutional and commercial buildings, as well as other objects with a transparent surface.

Scientists at Michigan State University (MSU) detailed in a paper in the journal Nature Energy the way that highly transparent solar applications could “nearly meet U.S. electricity demand” and drastically reduce reliance upon fossil fuels, according to Newsweek.

“We will see commercial products become available over the next few years,” says Richard Lunt, an associate professor of chemical engineering and materials science at MSU. “We are just beginning to hit performance metrics that make sense to scale up.”

Click here to learn about maintenance considerations for rooftop solar installations.

Ultra-thin, transparent solar panels could be retrofitted onto skyscrapers and smartphones, meaning windows and screens would not need to be replaced in order to generate electricity from buildings or electronic devices.

Compared to traditional solar cells, the transparent technology still has some catching up to do. Rooftop solar panels typically have an efficiency of between 15 and 18 percent, whereas the see-through solar cells record efficiencies of around 5 percent.

Click here to read about the benefits of rooftop solar installations.

However, Lunt says he expects to see a three-fold improvement in efficiency of the transparent solar cells.

Read more about facility applications for transparent solar cells here.

This Quick Read was submitted by Dan Hounsell, editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions, dan.hounsell@tradepressmedia.com.

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