It looks as if the time when solar energy can be incorporated into windows in both homes and businesses is closer than we thought. A semi-transparent solar cell that provides a sustainable level of energy efficiency has been developed by engineers.
According to the most recent study, 2 square meters, approximately 22 square feet of the future generation PSCs, or perovskite solar cells, are capable of generating the same amount of energy as a regulation solar panel. If tinted to resemble today’s commercial glazed windows they would generate somewhere in the realm of 140 wpm (watts per meter).
For years, scientists have been researching solar windows, but it wasn’t until recently that they were able to come anywhere close to a design that is compatible to solar panels in cost, stability and efficiency. The latest research is getting closer to that goal.
According to one chemist working on the project, rooftop solar energy has a conversion efficiency of approximately 15 to 20%. The semi-transparent cells average around 17% and still have the ability to transmit over 10% natural light.
One of the key factors that is critical to making the switch is substituting a key solar component with a polymer. The polymer has been especially created based on an organic semiconductor to increase comprehensive reliability.
This hinges on the fact that it relies on ultraviolet light 24/7, as well as the increase in PSC efficiency. Based on these factors, it is easy to see why solar energy is becoming more appealing in the commercial sector. Whether we will be able to have a clear view of the outdoors and still experience maximum energy efficiency, it is required to find a happy medium between efficiency and opacity.
In spite of the new findings, it may take around 10 or so years before this breakthrough technology can be improved enough to be implemented on a commercial level. Scientists are partnering with major players in the business world to get solar cells incorporated into future building designs.
The first to benefit from this new technology could be multilevel buildings in which glazing is already a costly factor. The owners of these structures will not have to pay a great deal more for the added benefit of solar cell technology.