New approaches to solar energy
Posted on 15th September 2022
Have you heard of building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) solar panels?
Products are now available that are designed to seamlessly integrate with the existing structure and design of a building. They are easy to install, making them ideal for your home, public buildings, offices and commercial properties.
PV panels compatible with traditional roofing tiles are available in colours and shapes that can suit many styles of building.
They can be self-cleaning, fire resistant and can withstand hurricane force winds. Ventilation, heat dissipation and drainage options are also available. They can even be used for car ports, conservatories and garden rooms providing shade and energy at the same time. They can also be used with batteries for energy storage, EV chargers, and smart energy management systems as part of your renewable energy solution.
Transparent solar panels
PV glass panels can generate electricity from windows in offices, homes, a car’s sunroof, or even smartphones and tablet devices. PV slats in window blinds are another alternative to generate electricity.
Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) originally created the first fully transparent solar panel that could turn almost any glass sheet or window into a PV cell. It has now installed the technology on its own campus.
While traditional solar panels absorb light to convert it into energy these new cells use a different technique. They use only part of the spectrum, which is invisible to our eyes, while allowing the normal visible light to pass through. They do this using a transparent luminescent solar concentrator (TLSC) made up of organic salts that absorb the invisible wavelengths which are then guided to the edge of the window where thin PV strips convert it into electricity with an efficiency of about 10%.
As mass production and use of this technology is extended almost every window in a home or office could be a clear solar panel.
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