The solar energy market will continue to grow year on year. The annual growth rate of the market will be 24.2% between 2016 and 2022. However, the actual solar energy market could grow even faster if new developments are developed which have not yet hit the market.

New products that make solar panels safer and more efficient. One of them could be that windows will start to act like solar panels.

When you think of solar power, you see dark colored signs on the side of the road or on rooftops. But a team of chemical engineering and materials science researchers at Michigan State University want to change the way we see through solar panels.

Led by Richard Lunt, 2016 Johansen Crosby Chair in Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University, the team has developed a unique way to turn any flat piece of glass into a transparent solar panel. In fact, any window, car windshield, or even screen on a mobile device can generate solar power in the not too distant future.

Transparent luminescent solar concentration technology.

Today, scientists and researchers are experimenting with different ways to integrate solar collection into glass to achieve a better return on investment.

But the resulting glass has always been opaque or at least darkened, reducing its viability in the architectural market. The work of Dr Lunt and his team led to the first drink to generate efficient and transparent energy.

The technology, called a Transparent Luminescent Solar Concentrator (TLSC), is placed in a window or similar glass device, where it collects energy from ultraviolet and infrared spectra. These wavelengths, which generate heat as they pass through windows, are removed by the TLSC. Not only does this convert heat-producing wavelengths into solar energy, it also helps keep the interior comfortable by regulating the temperature inside buildings.

TLSC technology is flexible and scalable, which will allow it a large number of applications, both in large installations and in homes. It could even be used in the future to power mobile devices or skyscrapers that can be completely self-sufficient from the commercial power grid. It could even supply electricity to the local grid. The aim is to produce energy without visible solar panels.

But Dr. Lunt soon realizes that the desired efficacy of TLSC has yet to be achieved. TLSC efficiency is currently around 1%, but it should be between 5-7% for commercial deployment. Even the most efficient solar collectors embedded in opaque glass only achieve an efficiency of only 7%.


By uploading the video, you agree to YouTube’s privacy policy.
More information

Download a video

Windows are the new generation of solar panels.

Solar energy is our future. It can help fight climate change and solve many global energy problems.

Unfortunately, it faces some limitations, such as downtime and its distribution issues. The good news is that there are new solutions. This will make solar energy more readily available. We probably haven’t considered using windows for solar power in the past, but they could soon become one of the most important solar power advancements of the 21st century.