Renewable energy is of utmost importance given the limited nature of fossil fuels. Photovoltaic modules, which consist of arrays of solar cells, can convert sunlight into electricity.
Semi-transparent photovoltaic windows increase the surface area which can generate useful electricity in buildings, whilst still providing natural illumination to the users inside. However, state-of-the-art photovoltaic windows have low power conversion efficiency allowing less than 20% of the daylight to pass through.
The aim of the project STAR-Sol, a collaboration between INL – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory and the University of Luxembourg, is to overcome challenges in photovoltaic material science and to open doors to large-scale electrical solar deployment. The innovative design developed in the project STAR-Sol incorporates parallel stripes of solar cells, smaller than the eye can resolve. These narrow striped solar cells have a similar performance to standard large area cells, making it possible to create photovoltaic windows with a clearer view and greater transmission of the daylight spectrum. Moreover, the STAR-Sol design generates more power conversion than the commercial state-of-the-art.
Imagine sitting near a window that not only lets through sufficient natural daylight to enable you to read but that it also generates electricity to power your devices. Windows could be an important part of smart cities that are both convenient and green and that would be a step towards reducing humankind’s carbon footprint to zero. Stay tuned for more updates regarding this exciting project!