Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Power Glass from XsunX: transparent glass-like solar cells

[a hat tip to Treehugger]

The strangely-named, California-based company, XsunX, has released new nearly-transparent building-integrated photovoltaic cells dubbed Power Glass. The glass-like panels incorporate "very thin semi-transparent coatings and films that create large area monolithic solar cell structures that you can see through."

The transparency makes the cells useful for coating over glass, plastics and any other see-through structures to create windows that generate power. XsunX claims that the cells operate at only half the efficiency of conventional amorphous PVs but due to roll-to-roll manufacturing, reduced materials costs, etc., they claim they can manufacture them for 1/4 the cost. However, they offer no hard numbers here, nor a description of the materials used in the construction so its hard to parse out any factuality in this PR.

XsunX writes that "Power Glass™ represents a new breed of solar cell design that balances solar cell efficiencies and manufacturing costs with broad applications and uses." I agree with them that PVs that can be so seemlessly integrated into a building have lots of potential. However, like most of these press releases, XsunX is giving us very little hard info to go off of.

Just thought I'd bring this one to our attention...

2 comments:

Robert McLeod said...

Hmmm... interesting. I don't quite see how they extract the electrical current. There are no contacts visable on the 2nd prototype.

They'll never be able to trap the light as effectively as a dedicated PV cell but they don't even try to make that claim. On the other hand they leverage the cost of the substrate if you're going to put in the glass anyway. This would be where your cost savings is realized.

Jenny said...

So that's great that they're semi-transparent, but I wouldn't want them to dull the sunlight coming through the window. Why coat only the windows when you could coat walls and rooftops as well? Perhaps they must be installed on the building's interior.