Solar energy-collecting windows soon to be a reality< Back to Blog

We’re all used to seeing solar panels on rooftops and at ground level in ‘solar farms’ but, with solar power being a clean, renewable and (unless our sun suddenly dies out) limitless source of energy, are there any other ways we can harness it?

Always keen to explore new technologies that will influence the built-environment, we stumbled across this interesting innovation:

Solar-collecting windows!


The science: Researchers have been looking into the creation of highly transparent solar cells for some time with various teams dedicated to turning this vision into a reality. One partnership between the University of Minnesota and a research team in Italy has now resulted in the development of new technology that successfully traps the sunlight as it shines through a window, concentrating and dispersing it to the window’s edges where tiny solar cells capture the energy. Because the cells are hidden in the window frame, this has no impact on how the building actually looks.

OK, so there’s a lot more science to it than this (involving nanoparticles called luminescent solar contractors), and the product itself has yet to reach the market. But, with technology developing at a fast-pace, this means that, in just a few years we could have the means to collect significant amounts of energy simply through the windows of our homes and workplaces.

When you think about how much square footage of glass there must be in the buildings that make up our towns, cities and villages, could this be the ultimate energy-providing solution of the future?