Solar generation is being used in a variety of ways to give people options on how they want to power their homes. Instead of big, bulky panels on the roof, there is a more discreet roofing alternative. For example, the ability to install solar-powered glass. Efficiency has been a problem in the latter, but the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed a better prototype that is highly adaptable.
The new window uses enhanced thermochromic technology, which converts sunlight into usable energy at the highest efficiency we’ve seen yet. According to the research, they saw conversion levels reach 11.3 percent. It only took around three minutes from the window to switch over from a transparent state to a darkened color. When it’s dark, molecules are reversibly adsorbed to create electricity.
“There is a fundamental tradeoff between a good window and a good solar cell,” Lance Wheeler, scientist at NREL, said in a company news release. “This technology bypasses that. We have a good solar cell when there’s lots of sunshine and we have a good window when there’s not.” The NREL also believes that the product could be expanded to vehicles or on electronics to power them remotely.
Solar-Powered Windows Are Efficient Enough To Generate 80% Of U.S. Power [GreenMatters]