EDITOR'S PICK: Since New Energy Technologies submitted this idea in July, they've announced the expansion of their SolarWindow coating to commercial and military aircrafts. Pilots may soon find the company’s see-through, energy-generating technology on aircraft windows, flight suits, helmets and visors. Researchers envision applying the light-weight coatings to pilot safety equipment, thus providing a source of power in the case of an emergency.
SolarWindow is an organic photovoltaic (OPV) solar array composed of ultra-thin layers forming small cells. SolarWindow™ generates clean electricity on see-through glass windows, by making use of the energy of natural sunlight and artificial sources such as fluorescent and LED lighting typically installed in offices, schools, and commercial buildings. The coating is an organic photovoltaic solar array composed of ultra-thin layers forming small cells, using mostly hydrogen-carbon based substances. When interconnected in a grid-like arrangement, an array of these OPV cells increase the voltage potential and electrical current in a given area. The electricity-generating coating that produces electrical energy from natural and artificial light can be applied to the entire façade of a building or applied on surfaces at low-temperatures and atmospheric pressures. It can also be used in conjunction with existing energy conservation technologies such as low E coatings. When applied to the façade of an office building, SolarWindow is capable of generating over 300 percent the energy savings of traditional rooftop panels. New Energy Technologies, Inc.'s SolarWindow technology utilizes an organic solar array composed of a series of ultra-small solar cells measuring less than ¼ the size of a grain of rice each. They are fabricated using environmentally-friendly hydrogen-carbon based materials, and successfully produce electricity, as demonstrated in a published peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy of the American Institute of Physics.
- Generating Electricity on Glass Windows and See-Through Films • SolarWindow generates electricity and remains see-through on glass windows and plastics similar to commercially-available window tint films. Conventional ‘thin film’ and solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are dark and obscure, nearly impossible to see through.
- Spray-On Electricity-Generating Power Plants • SolarWindow electricity-generating coatings can be applied using various low-cost production methods, and can even be sprayed on to glass and plastics. This cannot be achieved with traditional PV manufacturing methods.
- Lower Cost, Room Temperature Production • SolarWindow processing can be performed at room (ambient) temperature and pressure, unlike conventional thin-film PV, which typically requires high temperature and pressure (high negative or high positive pressure) sensitive manufacturing methods that usually add to the high costs of currently-available PV production.
- Electricity from Artificial Light • Most conventional PV systems rely on near direct exposure to natural sunlight. SolarWindow technology uses artificial light energy, such as fluorescent lighting typical in office buildings, as well as natural light energy to generate electricity, and is capable of producing electricity with indirect or low-light conditions.
- Shaded Exposures where Sunlight is Limited • SolarWindow can be applied to all four sides of a building (including shaded areas) and operate during varying weather seasons, in low-light conditions, and from indirect sunlight, unlike current conventional solar PV technologies, which largely depends on near direct exposure to sunlight. Electricity-Generating Flexible Surfaces • SolarWindow has been shown to generate electricity on flexible plastics, while today’s conventional PV competing technologies are thick and rigid and cannot be similarly applied.