Solar films to enable tinted windows to generate electricity
Transparent solar films will enable building glass to become energy harvesters that smoothly integrate into a building’s design.
Heliatek has announced that its transparent solar films could be used to be integrated between the glass sheets of double glazed windows. These windows would look like tinted glass as the unique vapor deposition technology for the solar films allows for a homogeneous coating of the solar layer without any distracting patterns or irregularities.
Heliatek is currently working with glass and other building material manufacturers to include its solar film technology in their products. Measurements by SGS, an accredited and independent testing facility, have confirmed that Heliatek’s lab cells still offer an efficiency of 7 percent at a light transmission level of 23.5 percent. Currently, the company can produce a transparency level of up to 40 precent in its laboratories in Dresden, Germany, and sees the possibility to increase this to 50 percent when the transparent solar films will be supplied to the building industry with the launch of the next production line in 2014.
Dr Martin Pfeiffer, co-founder and CTO of Heliatek, states, “Our thin and lightweight solar films can be integrated directly into various kinds of building materials, so there is no need for separate mounting structures. As the film maintains its efficiency at high temperatures, unlike traditional PV technologies, no cooling is required. Similarly, its low light capabilities mean that the orientation and angle of the film is not critical and it maintains its efficiency even when cloudy, north facing, or in the morning and evening.”
Heliatek has a joint development agreement with RECKLI, a manufacturer of elastic molds for concrete façades, to integrate its solar films onto concrete building walls. This will enable vertical concrete walls to become highly efficient solar energy harvesters without the need for supporting structures or cooling mechanisms.