Creating an energy producing window, without affecting its prime functions is a technical challenge. This is the reason that this potential has largely been neglected over the years. A window needs to provide an unhindered see through and allow enough light to penetrate, while a pv panel ultimately utilises most of this light. Balancing these contrasting requirements will result in a slightly tinted pane that nevertheless generates significant amounts of solar energy.
Perovskite as an upcoming thin film technology is specifically suited for the application in pv windows. It has the potential to homogeneously cover surfaces with a neutral hue. Creating a microscopic pattern of a thin layer of opaque perovskite will result in transparent surface that is relatively easy to manufacture. In this way we can tweak the amount of sunlight that penetrates and the energy that is generated.
We have demonstrated this concept on ten by ten centimetre laboratory sample with an efficiency of five percent. A prototype with 50% perovskite coverage was shown to retain 40% of the efficiency. Within two years we aim to improve the five percent efficiency to ten percent without compromising aesthetics and transparency.
Glass curtain walls are important architectural features and widely applied on office buildings. If we can make these suitable for energy generation it opens a huge, to date unexploited surface area. We estimate that in the Netherlands alone 60 square kilometre is available, amounting to six gigawatt peak (GWp) of power generation.
Together with partners we want further develop this technology into a market-ready product for Dutch business and industry.
The aim is to develop glass that lets in at least 20% of the sunlight while converting at least 10% into solar power (10% efficiency). In this way, PV windows can make a substantial contribution to making buildings energy-neutral.
Contact Roland Valckenborg