Pilkington North America announced last week it had installed energy-generating windows at its Northwood, Ohio facility. The flat glass manufacturer said it has worked since 2019 with Ubiquitous Energy to develop the transparent solar windows jointly.
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Pilkington and UE: solar windows to improve energy reliability
Pilkington North America has worked with Ubiquitous Energy (UE) since 2019 to jointly develop and install energy-generating windows at its Northwood, Ohio facility. These transparent solar windows feature building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology, transforming an average window into a solar cell that generates electricity.
According to UE, its technology adds an invisible power generation element by capturing non-visible wavelengths and creating a window that acts as a photovoltaic cell without obstructing the view.
Furthermore, the company collects and transmits the generated electricity through an onboard system built discreetly into the window frame. This collected electricity is then transferred to a battery capable of powering various products and increasing the overall energy efficiency of a building.
Windows with these features can be used in addition to solar cells on a rooftop, as they exponentially increase the area available for power generation on a large building by enabling the full facade to collect energy. Besides, the windows maintain the performance of standard commercial window glass.
Pilkington reported that the installation at Northwood also took various technical data points from the site, such as wind speed, light exposure, and outside temperature.
Such data could then be used to integrate with the Pilkington building’s system controls to determine how to best use the power in the building’s operation.
The ClearView Power technology
In this regard, Miles Barr, Ubiquitous Energy Co-founder, and CTO said at a product showroom in 2019: “We look forward to showcasing our transparent solar window façade with our partner NSG Pilkington.”
“Meeting with green building professionals and showing them that we can make windows that generate energy while maintaining the desired aesthetics of windows, is paramount for broad market adoption,” Barr added.
The Northwood site will use the BIPV system to power exterior signage and lighting. In the future, a larger installation could potentially offset building power consumption.
UE’s ClearView Power™ technology can generate clean, renewable energy while maintaining aesthetics, high transparency, and color neutrality. When exposed to sunlight as exterior facing windows, the technology produces electricity to provide power to buildings.
ClearView Power™ is a highly transparent, color-neutral coating, which selectively absorbs and converts non-visible light (ultraviolet and infrared) to electricity while maintaining visible transparency. The technology also doubles as a low-E and solar control coating and its electricity generation by blocking infrared light.