Windows That Generate Electricity – Integrated Photovoltaics and your house

I said yesterday, how would your world change if everything on the outside of your house generated electricity? I skipped windows because they are a topic in and of themselves. Glass

Photovoltaic (PV) vision glass substitutes a thin-film, semi-transparent photovoltaic panel for the exterior glass panel in an otherwise traditional double-pane glass window or skylight. Electric wires extend from the sides of each glass unit and are connected to wires from other windows, building up the entire system. The technology, while available in Europe, is currently being developed as part of a United States Department of Energy PV-BONUS project.

On the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus, the system, rated at about 11 kW, substitutes Building Integrated Photovoltaic vision glass for traditional windows in the Wintergarden of Mary Ann Cofrin Hall.

This system spans 2,000 square feet and generates about 12,500 kWh annually. The “PV Glass” unit was manufactured by Viracon, Inc. using BP Solar MST-43LV 43-watt, thin-film photovoltaic modules and was installed in a standard Kawneer Company 1600 PowerWall (TM). In this application, BP Solar laser-etched their photovoltaic modules to create a desired transmittance for the Wintergarden.   Sunspace

Artist’s rendering of Wintergarden.

A total of 252 modules were installed. Each vision glass surface has 13 layers of thin film, altogether thinner than one piece of paper, sandwiched between two protective layers of glass.


What if it was a SMART Window? One that opened when the house got too cold or too hot?

Performance evaluation of a PV ventilated window applying to office building of Hong Kong

T.T. ChowCorresponding Author Contact Information, a, E-mail The Corresponding Author, K.F. Fonga, W. Hea, Z. Lina and A.L.S. Chana

Received 29 June 2006; 

revised 23 September 2006;

accepted 26 September 2006.

Available online 6 December 2006.


PV ventilated glazing technology for application in warm climate provides energy saving opportunities through the reduction in air-conditioning load, the daylight utilization, and the green electric power generation. In a working environment, the use of semi-transparent a-Si glazing is deemed better than the one with non-transparent c-Si solar cells. This paper reports an evaluation of its integrated performance using a small office room in Hong Kong as an example. An energy model of a PV ventilated window system is first introduced. Based on this together with the TMY weather data of Hong Kong and the daylight simulation capability of the EnergyPlus program, the overall performance analysis have been executed for different window orientations. It was found that a solar cell transmittance in the range of 0.45–0.55 could achieve the best electricity saving.


It’s getting to be big business:

Konarka partners with window company on BIPV; integrating photovoltaics with glass

May 12, 2009–Konarka Technologies (Lowell, MA), a developer of Konarka Power Plastic, a material that converts light to energy, entered into an advanced product development agreement with Florida-based Arch Aluminum & Glass Co. Together, they plan to collaborate on building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), with a memorandum of understanding to integrate Konarka’s patent-protected thin-film solar material into glass for various commercial BIPV applications (see “ Thin-film and organic photovoltaic manufacturing to reach 29 GWp” and “THIN-FILM PHOTOVOLTAICS: The key to success is higher efficiency“).

“Konarka is making great strides with our aggressive plans to expand into various markets, including building and construction,” said Rick Hess, president and CEO at Konarka. “Because our solar material is flexible, lightweight and semi-transparent, it integrates easier and is more aesthetically appealing than other solar products, making it ideally suited for BIPV applications. We expect that our collaborative work with Arch Aluminum & Glass will advance the delivery of Konarka Power Plastic on a large scale basis into this market segment.”

Arch Aluminum specializes in a wide range of artistic and architectural glass products to keep pace with the demands of today’s architects, designers and building developers. The company offers in-house laminating, heat-treating and fabrication technology as well as selective, engineered, off-the-shelf aluminum and glass products.

“Until today, aesthetic and performance concerns limited the ability of architects to use BIPV technology in their designs,” said Arch CEO Leon Silverstein. “This product development investigation is about the creation of a new product category, one that had been unavailable until today. It is energy-efficient and transparent with superior vertical performance and a subtle red, blue or green aesthetic. With these features, BIPV will no longer need to be confined to spandrel or overhead applications. An entire building can be put to use, producing its own power, and looking good doing so.”

In October 2008, Konarka opened the largest roll-to-roll flexible thin film solar manufacturing facility in the world, preparing for the commercialization and mass production of its solar material for various market segments including sensors, consumer products, tent and fabric structures, greenhouses, marine and boating, building construction, as well as fashion and accessories, among others.


This would be Barack Obama’s GREEN Economy or as I like to say Greenomy.


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