Sharp has announced that they are developing semi-transparent solar panel windows, which can be mounted on balcony railings or high-rise windows. Sharp`s windows are composed of laminated glass, which are infused with solar cells.
Part of the sunlight is absorbed and used to generate a current, while most of what`s left shines through the window, making it transparent.
The solar panel windows will convert about 6.8% of incoming solar energy into electricity and have a maximum output of 95 watts. This is obviously much less then conventional solar panels, which usually operate somewhere in the range 15-20%, but the new invention will be used quite differently.
Sharp will promote their product to homeowners who are looking to replace high-rise or balcony windows with models that produce electricity. Many of them might not have the opportunity to get conventional solar panels because they live in apartment buildings or for other reasons. Imagine skyscrapers being turned into massive power generators.
“If we could retrofit every high-rise building’s standard windows with this solar panel glass, buildings would each become its own power plant capable of generating at least a percentage of its energy needs,” said environmental writer David Quilty at Revmodo.
It looks like Sharp`s semi-transparent solar windows only will be available to their customers in Japan. Launch date is already set to October, but pricing has yet to been published – likely to be significantly higher than conventional solar panels cost. If Sharp`s semi-transparent solar windows turns out to be a success in Japan, the product will likely be available in other places around the world within a couple of years.
Source: Sharp Japan