Photovoltaic Glazing Revolution in Construction !
Photovoltaic glass (PV glass) is a technology that enables the conversion of light into electricity.
Building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) glazing can help buildings generate their own electricity, by turning the whole building envelope into a solar panel. Companies such as Polysolar provide transparent photovoltaic glass as a structural building material, forming windows, façades and roofs. Polysolar’s technology is efficient at producing energy even on north-facing, vertical walls and its high performance at raised temperatures means it can be double glazed or insulated directly. As well as saving on energy bills and earning feed-in tariff revenues, its cost is only marginal over traditional glass, since construction and framework costs remain, while cladding and shading system costs are replaced.
To do so, the glass incorporates transparent semiconductor-based photovoltaic cells, which are also known as solar cells. The cells are sandwiched between two sheets of glass. Photovoltaic glass is not perfectly transparent but allows some of the available light through.
Buildings using a substantial amount of photovoltaic glass could produce some of their own electricity through the windows. The PV power generated is considered green or clean electricity because its source is renewable and it does not cause pollution. In addition to energy cost savings, potential benefits from the use of photovoltaic glass include reducing the carbon footprint of facilities, contributing to sustainability and consequently, enhancing branding and public relations (PR) efforts.
In environments where too much heat gets in with light, the reduced transparency can also save on air-conditioning costs. Variations have been designed for environments where more light is desired. For example, Sharp has developed a stilted solar glass product that has gaps between solar cells to enable greater light penetration.