Many governments worldwide now require double pane glass in windows for energy efficiency. In between the panes is usually a gas that helps to cut down on unwanted heat transfer. But what if, sandwiched between the two panes of glass, instead of merely a substance that helps to conserve energy, there was also an actual energy generator? That is the ingenious energy innovation supplied by Israel’s SolarOr, which was on display at this month’s Intersolar event at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.
Sandwiched between the two panes, SolarOr inserts tiny faceted solar photovoltaic cells facing the sky at the top of a honeycomb inside the glass.
The solar glass “efficiency” – or electricity generated per square meter – of the result is better than most BIPV, (Building Integrated PV). SolarOr’s says their honeycomb glass can produce 155 Watts per square meter. Typical rooftop PV panels do produce a bit more, but this is not bad for BIPV at all, and similar to that of Pythagoras Solar, another innovative Israeli solar architectural solar glass maker, that just completed a full solar window retrofit for Chicago’s Sears Tower with superior performance BIPV.
Normally BIPV is a little less efficient than traditional PV – but, on the other hand, traditional PV must be added on top of a roof, in separate panels, as a separate decision.
Because there is no separate decision needed; BIPV has an advantage that is psychological, based on human nature, that overcomes this supposed deficiency. That is because all buildings must have windows, walls and roofs anyway. So – even if it does take a bit more space to make the same energy, well, that is still more energy than a “dumb” wall, window, or roof will ever make.
So, instead of energy generation requiring an additional decision to be made, once basic shelter is supplied: now the choice becomes – why not install smart windows, walls, or roofs that make energy, in addition to conserving it, rather than dumb ones that don’t. That is a choice between getting more for your money or not; a much more familiar choice, and one with an easy answer.
So BIPV can eliminate the procrastination inherent in solar PV, since every building must have walls, windows and roofs, that In many jurisdictions now, must be efficient.
While generating energy, their glass also cuts heat transfer and lets 40% of the light through, fully meeting most government requirements for energy efficiency, like most double pane windows.
SolarOr’s curtain wall module is designed for climate control and solar energy harvesting, combining energy production with heat insulation, sun protection and robust structure.
Characteristics of the SolarOr BIPV Module:
- Optimal design for vertical installation offers the best sun harvesting performance.
- Translucent technology permits light transmission and provides noise insulation.
- Total internal reflection technology enables back reflection (towards the sun) of excessive sun energy.
- Improved thermal insulation.
- Best price performance in the industry.
Hopefully innovations like this super-useful architectural glass will cut down on the real “solar inefficiency” slowing the rate of solar adoption: and that is the human tendency to procrastinate.
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