New Smart Windows hold Potential to Act as Solar Panel Reveals Study


Developed by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, new smart window technology exhibits tremendous potential. Not only do smart windows have the potential to prevent heat to enter into buildings, they can also be used as solar panel and transform sunlight into energy.

In the U.S., windows of several commercial and residential buildings are equipped with low heat emission glass. As per the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), as much as 80 percent homes and 50 percent commercial buildings are installed with energy efficient windows.

Conversion of Trapped Solar Energy into Electricity yet Hypothesis

Apart from the low heat emission feature of smart windows, the energy feature of smart windows largely remains untapped, which National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) may be capable to unveil. In this regard, researchers at NREL have developed a smart window that can not only prevent heat to enter into buildings, but also convert it into solar energy. Made of energy-harvesting material perovskite, smart windows are thermochromic- which means they have the capability of changing color from transparent to tinted as a response to heat. Despite the presence of thermochromic technologies, conversion of this solar energy into electricity has not yet been possible, as stated by a NREL scientist.

During the process of heating of smart windows, methylamine molecules are discharged, which in turn leads to darkening of the device. As a result, smart windows act as solar panels and are considerably efficient for generating electricity. To conceptualize the hypothesis, researchers at NREL published a proof-of-study in Nature Communications journal that exhibited 11.3 percent efficiency for solar power conversion.

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