If there is one thing that features heavily on our homes and office buildings, it is glass. If it was possible to harness all of that potential space for solar panels it might just provide more than enough power for all we need. So it is exciting to hear that it may soon be very possible to have solar panels that are made of transparent glass and which look great too.
This idea isn’t entirely new and has actually been used in commercial buildings in a couple of locations across the UK including a Sainsbury’s and bus shelters. But it is yet to catch on for standard buildings and homes. It could certainly have something to do with the price. The panels produced by solar panel company Polysolar range between £175 and £250 per square metre depending on how transparent they need to be. However the more expensive option offers up to 15% power conversion.
These glass solar panels do have some drawbacks. The main one being the fact that the glass needs to be slightly tinted – generally grey or orange. This is because the orange tinted voltaic panel is sandwiched between two sheets of glass in tinted blue. This does give the panels a slight disadvantage over plain glass options.
But experts have been working on this and small scale productions of clear glass are becoming possible. This clear and entirely transparent panel is in the pipeline and expected to be available within two years.
If this technology was to become mainstream it may not be just an alternative to double glazing, but all glass could be solar including screens, interior glass – even mirrors. With the improvements in solar panels that have occurred in recent years, the ability to harness the power of the sun has become even easier.
With the savings that could possibly come in terms of the environment, the cost of energy and the carbon footprint, the future of solar panels on our homes really could take the shape of windows. It seems like a perfect solution that would be well worth the investment.