Oxford Photovoltaics is a UK-based company that wants every building to have the potential to generate electricity using the solar power. They have created a solar cell that is transparent enough to function as a window while providing a very small amount of energy.
On their own, they don’t generate a lot of energy but placed on the facade of a skyscraper the goal can really add up!
“What we say here is rather than attach [solar] photovoltaics to the building, why not make the building the photovoltaics?” Kevin Arthur, the company’s founder and CEO, told the Guardian. “If you decide to build a building out of glass, then you’ve already decided to pay for the glass. If you add this, you’re adding a very small extra cost. [The solar cell treatment] costs no more than 10% of the cost of the facade.”
The technology works by adding a layer of transparent solid-state solar cells at most three microns thick to conventional glass, in order to turn around 12% of the solar energy received into low-carbon electricity. The power can then be exported to the national grid or used for the running of a building.