A company that spun out of Oxford University has engineered transparent solar panels, and their ‘solar glass’ can be dyed almost any colour. The technology works by adding a layer of transparent solid-state solar cells (max. 3 microns thick) to conventional glass. Oxford Photovoltaics’ innovation could turn just about any window or glass into a photovoltaic solar cell.
Last week Oxford Photovoltaics doubled their equity be securing another £8m investment, that they will use to further develop the conversion efficiency of perovskite solar cells, which they describes as "the fastest improving solar cell technology ever seen". Perovskite cells can be made semi-transparent and thus can be integrated into architectural glass.
The international solar power market is growing rapidly and this transparent innovation allows sustainable buildings to power themselves, and in a rainbow of bright colours and designs.
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. "Within reason we can print any colour, there's a wide range of dyes, blues and greens and reds and so on. But different colours have different efficiencies: black is very high, green is pretty good and red is good, but blue is less good"