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Solar Window Covering Boasts ‘Transparency’

Linda Hardesty

solar energy manageScientists at Michigan State University have invented a solar concentrating module that can be placed on windows to generate energy, while at the same time being transparent enough for people to have a clear view, according to Michigan State’s website.

It is called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and has the potential to scale for use on large buildings.

Research in the production of energy from solar cells placed on clear materials is not new. New Energy Technologies, which develops see-through solar window coatings capable of generating electricity on glass and flexible plastics, recently said its technology can now cover a piece of glass measuring 36 square inches.

The Michigan researchers are focusing on making their solar technology as clear as possible and also making it feasible on a large scale.

Richard Lunt, an assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science at MSU, said “With our new transparent luminescent concentrator approach, we are focusing on selectively harvesting the invisible components of the solar spectrum by designing systems that both absorb and glow outside the visible spectrum.  The large area harvesting is done optically with a concentrator architecture, so we have very high defect tolerance, the fabrication becomes much simpler (think lower cost and rapid scaling), and for many of our designs the efficiency actually increases as we scale up. In addition, the transparency and aesthetic quality is nearly identical to that of glass.”

Photo Credit: Yimu Zhao



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