What if all the windows in your house could generate electricity? A California company believes its technology can achieve this by transforming the way solar energy is collected and used.

Ubiquitous Energy has developed transparent solar cells to create its ClearView Power windows, a kind of “solar glassWhich can convert sunlight into energy without the opaque blue-gray panels that these cells are typically associated with.

The company, which emerged from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012, hopes to use this technology to convert virtually any everyday glazed surface into a solar cell.

It can be applied to skyscraper windows; It can be applied to automobile glass; It can be applied to the glass of your iPhone.

Miles Barr, Founder and CTO of Ubiquitous Energy.

The company seeks to capitalize on the renewable energy boom in the United States, with solar and wind power set to surpass coal in 2021, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

Although several companies are working on similar products, the technology is still at a relatively early stage. It is one of many emerging products that harness solar power, with others including irrigation pumps and a “solar furnace” that can be used to make cement and steel. The home state of Ubiquitous Energy, California, is one of the first to require every new home to incorporate some form of solar technology.

This is great for ClearView Power, as homeowners can install windows as they would anyway, but they actually produce power to meet that requirement.

Miles Barr.

The core of the product is an organic dye which can be used to coat glass surfaces. Tint allows visible sunlight to pass through it, as normal windows do, but it captures the invisible infrared rays of that sunlight.

Light absorbing dyes are found all around us. They are in paints, in clothing pigments, and even in electronic devices. We designed these dyes to selectively absorb infrared light and also convert that light into electricity.

Miles Barr.

Its main drawback is its relatively low efficiency. However, it’s all about the price. If transparent cells are cheaper, and the cells need to cover a relatively large area … this may be the best solution.

Anne Grete Hestnes, professor of architecture at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology specializing in solar energy.

Barr said Ubiquitous Energy’s transparent panels can produce up to two-thirds of the energy of traditional panels. And he said it costs about 20% to install than a normal window, a cost he says is offset by the electricity they generate.

The company wants its solar windows to complement traditional roof panels rather than replace them. According to Barr, the combination of the two methods could reduce the net energy consumption of large buildings to zero, which means they produce as much electricity as they consume.

Ubiquitous Energy has started installing its solar windows in buildings, including at its headquarters in Redwood City, where it manufactures the glass panels.

We already install and sell ClearView Power windows in limited sizes, and we are in the planning phase of an installation where we will be able to produce windows of all sizes.

However, the coronavirus outbreak has forced much of the company’s production planning to be done remotely. But Barr said he was still making “significant progress.”

It is still a little early to know what the full effects of the global pandemic will be, including on our activities.

Going through cnn.com

More information: ubiquitous.energy