A team from the University of Michigan is working to develop a solar window with 15% efficiency, allowing 50% of the light to pass through. It has received $1.3 million from the Department of Energy’s Office of Solar Energy Technologies to further develop the idea.
Last year, a team from the University of Michigan published research that claims the United States could get 40% of its electricity from solar windows. His projection suggested that there were between 5,000 and 7,000 million square meters of usable windows, together with solar windows with an efficiency of 15% applied to the entire area, would approach that 40%.
The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Solar Energy Technologies has awarded a team from the University of Michigan a $1.3 million grant to further develop its organic solar cell window technology from its current efficiency in 8 % up to a goal of 15%. The project, Scalable, semi-transparent, reliable and efficient Organic Solar Cells for the Construction of Integrated Applications, expects to develop a 50% transparent product, in low-cost rolls and with mass production.
The goal of the overall program of the Office of Solar Energy Technologies was to support research in the early stages, helping to get products out of the laboratory and into commercialization.
© Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing
Although the specific technology to be investigated with this grant was not yet available, a team led by members from the University of Michigan projected in April that they were already achieving 15% efficiency with their organic solar cells, with the goal of 18% in brief.
The researchers estimated that with 15% efficiency and a 20-year lifespan, organic solar cells could produce electricity at a cost of less than $7 / kWh (subsidies were not mentioned, but this price would not be subsidized).
Other projects are being developed worldwide in relation to building-integrated photovoltaic energy (BIPV), starting to gain momentum in a couple of companies – for example, Onyx Solar, as well as the Italian project “ NanoFarm ”. And of course, there are new solar tiles on the way – the Tesla Solar Roof, and the RGS Energy Powerhouse.
It would be difficult to change all the windows in the United States, but it would be feasible to include them in all new projects in addition to the architectural reforms that are produced. It would be a very applicable technology in the medium term.