US-based New Energy Technologies has announced that its SolarWindow module has set a new record for generating electricity while remaining transparent, with more than 50% greater power than previous attempts.
The company estimates that installation of a SolarWindow on a 50-storey commercial building could produce enough electricity to power at least 100 homes, potentially eliminating the equivalent of carbon emissions produced by vehicles driving around 2,750,000 miles annually.
Engineers are currently calculating total power production and carbon-offset estimates for skyscraper and tall tower installations using present validated SolarWindow performance results.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) Device Performance Measurement Laboratory, the SolarWindow module is the most efficient organic photovoltaic (OPV) module.
In general, the performance tests for OPV are performed on small lab-scale devices that typically measure only one square inch or smaller due to the challenging nature of OPV scale-up for seethrough.
New Energy's new SolarWindow module measures 36in².
New Energy president and CEO John A Conklin said: "We are engineering our seethrough SolarWindow products to generate sustainable electricity, and be aesthetically attractive, while being developed at a cost, which makes economic sense to our customers.
"We also remain mindful of ease-of-manufacturing, scale-up of size, and overall environmental benefits, all important considerations for our potential customers and future commercial partners in the commercial buildings sector."
The company's engineers envision installing SolarWindow on the vast areas of tinted glass surfaces on commercial buildings.
New Energy Principal Scientist Dr Scott Hammond said: "Our record-breaking SolarWindow module is the result of various methods of fabrication and materials, which have helped us overcome numerous challenges unique to our OPV device technology."
Under a cooperative R&D agreement, the NREL and New Energy have been working jointly to promote the company's SolarWindow technology for generating electricity on glass windows.
SolarWindow is currenly under development for eventual commercial deployment in the estimated 80 million detached homes in US and more than five million commercial buildings.
Image: Electricity-generating SolarWindow Module, being developed in architecturally neutral colours. Photo: courtesy of New Energy Technologies, Inc.