Monday, June 6, 2016

SolarWindow™ Claims Better Than Conventional PV By 50 Fold With 1 Year ROI

By: Eugene Wilkie

Dr. Scott Hammond with NREL Researchers, Holding a Blue-Green Tinted SolarWindow™ Module, Able to Generate Electricity, Under Development for Skyscraper Glass

Solar Window Technologies Inc. - SolarWindow™  has been busy engineering some of the greatest break through solar technologies I have seen. SolarWindow™ has records of 50 fold better generation than conventional photovoltaic. That is a stunning claim but on top of that it is a see through window product that can be retro-fitted or new and it is much lower cost!

This is from their site:

Engineered to outperform rooftop solar by 50-fold. Works in natural, shaded, and even indoor light.

SolarWindow™ can be applied to all four sides of tall towers, generating electricity using natural, shaded, and even artificial light. Conventional solar simply does not work in shaded areas or perform under artificial light.
The result?  SolarWindow™ can outperform today’s solar by as much as 50-fold when installed on a 50 story building, according to independently validated power production calculations.

What's our secret? Look up.

Look up along the sides of any of today’s tall towers or skyscrapers and you’ll see glass.  Lots of glass.
Our secret is the application of SolarWindow™ coatings to the many vast acres of window glass on a tall tower, turning an entire building into a source of clean, renewable energy.
Conventional solar systems cannot be applied in this way, and are instead limited to only a handful of square feet on congested rooftops. These very small tower rooftops are often crowded with service systems such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and elevators.  These spaces are also expected to offer tenant-amenities such as rooftop gardens and pools, and other high-footprint features.
Traditional solar also requires direct sunlight and cannot operate in shaded areas, a key advantage for SolarWindow™ applications where all four sides of a tower becomes a clean power-generator.
Importantly, our engineers have designed and tested SolarWindow™ to generate electricity from artificial light such as the fluorescent systems found inside offices, schools, and commercial buildings. Today’s solar systems do not perform well indoors or under artificial light.

These are ground breaking claims for the solar industry! As I look at all the different issues we have had to overcome over the 30 years I have been in the industry, I am intrigued with the ability to apply a see through layer to glass that allows for energy production. When you add the ability to outperform conventional PV by 50 fold it is a "holy grail, technology disruptive, breakthrough kind of moment." 

The first question of course is financial viability of the product. I am just going to post from the SolarWindow™ site their claims as it is absolutely stunning and completely changes the scenario of how quickly we get to grid parity and how we can quickly install solar to replace fossil.

Under one year, Industry’s fastest calculated financial return.

SolarWindow™ achieves payback within one year, according to first-ever independently validated financial modeling results.
To produce the equivalent amount of power with conventional solar systems would require at least 5-11 years for payback and at least 10-12 acres of valuable urban land.
Unlike the many acres of expensive downtown real estate required for solar array fields, SolarWindow™ systems can be installed on the readily-available vast window glass surfaces on tall towers and skyscrapers.

How is this possible? Liquid electricity.

Exponentially out-performing today’s solar photovoltaic (PV) systems is made possible when engineers apply electricity-generating SolarWindow™ coatings to glass. These see-through liquids create electricity-generating glass windows, successfully prototyped in the most aesthetically appealing colors in demand by building architects.

Electricity-Generating SolarWindow™ Module, Being Developed in Architecturally-Neutral Color

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When one looks at how quickly can SolarWindow™ get to market it is clear that due to the materials SolarWindow™ is using it should be a fairly low impact process so once again I will just post from the SolarWindow™ site.

Earth-abundant organic materials. Liquid coatings ideal for high speed production.

SolarWindow™ modules are created by applying ultra-thin layers of liquid coatings on to glass and flexible plastics. These liquid coatings produce ultra-small solar cells and form groups called ‘arrays’. Because of the family of materials we use and the way in which we architect our design, the final product is generically referred to as an ‘organic photovoltaic solar array’ (OPV).
Importantly, our liquid coatings are primarily made of hydrogen and carbon – two of the most abundant materials found in nature.

What makes our organic liquid coatings so good? Performance.

We use organic materials (polymers) which are dissolved into liquid form.  We apply these liquids to surfaces such as flexible plastics and glass to produce see-through products which generate electricity.
Our approach works.  Here’s how.
We avoid fabrication using raw materials which are difficult to process or cannot be turned into liquids.  Applying liquid coatings on to glass surfaces makes our SolarWindow™ technology ideally suited for high speed roll-to-roll and sheet-to-sheet manufacturing. High-speed manufacturing techniques result in lower production costs.
Our methods do not require expensive high-temperature or high-vacuum production techniques inherent to conventional solar.
And, by manipulating our liquid coatings we’re able to produce a color wheel of architecturally-aesthetic varieties while remaining see-through. Traditional solar cannot be produced in this way.
The result?
When applied to glass, SolarWindow™ modules appear with a pleasant neutral-tint.  They are aesthetically appealing and not disruptive to the eye, seemingly passive.  SolarWindow™ modules invisibly capture energy from the sun and other light sources while quietly generating valuable electricity.
But, how does this compare to today’s solar?
In comparison to conventional crystalline and thin-film PV technologies, our SolarWindow™ coatings have numerous advantages:
  1. Designed to generate electricity on glass, enhancing the performance of today’s typically insulated commercial and residential windows. Traditional solar cannot be applied to glass windows.
  2. See-through, with high level of ‘visible light transmission.’ Traditional solar is not see-through.
  3. Able to generate significant electricity from natural, artificial or even shaded light. Traditional solar does not work in artificial or shaded light.
Currently available solar cells are largely made of silicon wafers, an expensive and brittle material that can limit their commercial usability.
Other newer generation, lower-cost, flexible thin film solar materials such as amorphous silicon, copper-indium-gallium-selenide, and cadmium telluride, often require high-vacuum and high-temperature production techniques, and are thick, bulky, and impossible to see through when compared to SolarWindow™

In conclusion I would like to point out their real journey is just going to get started as the implications of their discoveries filter into the market. The fact is we have much more window square footage than rooftop in metro areas which are often the most energy intensive consumers on the grid. Even when there is available rooftop there are a multitude of structural, permitting and actual feasible space issues.


  1. Hi Eugene!!! very impressive if it really works. Are there any case studies available wherever they have been implemented.


    1. They are working close with NREL so I am sure they have test sites as they have to be gathering data to make claims like this.

  2. 50-fold... 50-fold... 50-fold. 50 times... what?

    1. That was why I left the 50 fold in title perhaps they will clarify.

  3. do we have commercial availability of these solar window panels

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