What if your windows could work as solar panels?
Ubiquitous Energy is one company that has developed just such technology. Their unique solar window, UE Power, is a photovoltaic glass coating that harnesses solar energy to generate electricity while remaining visibly indistinguishable from traditional windows.
Previous solar window technologies have had tradeoffs in transparency, color, visible wiring, or energy efficiency, making them difficult to adopt as a swap-in alternative to standard windows. Transparency is the keyword here in what makes UE Power special.
The transparent solar windows produce about half as much power as rooftop solar panels per given surface area. Therefore, they are designed to complement solar panels, not replace them. So don’t expect to power your entire home with solar windows. However, they will help offset the home’s current energy consumption. Thankfully, they don’t cost much more than standard windows either.
“Broad adoption of UE Power has the opportunity to offset up to an estimated 10% of global emissions, reducing the 40% of global carbon emissions that come from buildings and improving their energy efficiency at the same time.”
– Ubiquitous Energy
US window manufacturing giant Andersen Corporation believes in the potential of solar windows and is providing $30 million of funding to enable Ubiquitous Energy to launch high-volume manufacturing. The massive increase in funding could help bring solar window technology to the mainstream window market.
For now, the company only offers UE Power on new or replacement windows. But they envision a future where they can apply the coating to consumer electronics, transportation vehicles, and even greenhouses. This investment and the innovations it will help produce are pretty exciting.