In this article we are going to answer the question: What is a solar window? We’ll explain how to characterize the same, and in which situations it is useful.
A lot of definitions seek to convey the essence of what a solar window is. “Devices where light interacts with solar cells” and “a structure having at least one side composed of transparent material and thin film photovoltaic modules incorporated into the structure” are a few of examples.
A solar window is a transparent section of a building’s façade that allows for solar gain while preserving the aesthetics and view. Solar windows are a marvel of contemporary technology that decrease glare from the sun by combining materials such as dual-pane (and triple-pane) glass, cantilevered overhangs, angle reflectors, and insulation. A solar window maximizes sunlight gain while minimizing heat accumulation.
When you look for a replacement window for your home, you probably look for options that are beautiful and cost-effective. Yet, solar windows have more to offer than most people realize. Solar windows come with all the standard features of regular windows – they insulate, they let in natural light, they keep the elements out. With the addition of solar film, however, they also offer energy efficiency and money savings.-Techniquehome
What is a solar window?
Solar windows are essentially solar panels that are used to replace standard windows in dwellings. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as various installation methods. Some windows have built-in solar panels, while others have solar panels that cover the whole window.
Photovoltaic glass is installed on these solar panels. It captures sunlight and converts it to heat energy, which is then stored as electricity in a battery or immediately consumed by appliances.
This technique is being employed in buildings to optimize the capture of the sun’s rays at longitudes where windows are positioned to receive the sun’s light efficiently.
Because rooftops occupy limited space in skyscraper buildings, whereas windows reach from top to bottom and encircle the structures, this solar technology is a significant advancement or innovation over standard roof top-solar panels.
The quantity of solar energy that can be gathered through solar windows is tenfold more than that which can be harvested through solar panels on the roof. The environmental effect, as well as the impact on coal-energy conservation, is important.
In terms of cost, the first investment may be larger. However, customers will save a lot of money in the long run since after the original costs are recovered, the following and subsequent energy usages will be free.
Energy distributors buy excess solar energy storage, which is a tremendous incentive for solar window users. There are companies who are attempting to use this break through technology in every family and ordinary households.
How do Solar windows Work?
An optical system is inserted between glass layers or panel layers when photovoltaic cells are housed in window panels or glass panels. One side of the transparent panel layer is normally covered with a thin coat of film to regulate the solar rays going through the windows into the interior of the room while also refracting part of the solar rays directed toward the photovoltaic cells placed on the exterior side.
These refracted light beams are gathered as heat energy from photovoltaic cells, referred to as heat concentrators, via thin wires that transmit the heat energy to a storage device, such as batteries. Developers in modern technology have used a variety of technologies to achieve the greatest results.
Solar windows, unlike regular solar panels used on roofs, take into account the amount of solar energy that can be harvested at that time, as well as the amount of light that can enter the interior of the place or building. This is despite the fact that these solar windows should be positioned in such a way that, given all circumstances, the best result can be achieved.
As a result, instead of solely using silicon glazed photovoltaic cells, which are generally opaque and darker and are commonly used in solar panels, solar technology developers are now introducing quantum dots sprayed on the windows, which will act as light ray regulators while also trapping solar energy and transporting it as electrical current to receptors on the side of the windows.
Are Solar Windows good?
Solar windows are excellent. It is really good to the environment. It has the potential to create fifty (50) times the amount of electricity that a roof-top solar system can provide if done on a wide scale and effectively.
So, at that rate, solar windows might be used to dramatically increase the energy efficiency for a certain use or to energize a building significantly using solar windows.
Solar windows have the potential to lessen humanity’s dependency on coal energy if they are maintained. This would imply energy that is both clean and long-lasting. It has the potential to slow down climate change.
There will be no more carbon dioxide, hydrofluorocarbons, methane, or nitrous oxides, which are by-products of fossil fuel energy that are harmful to people’s health and the environment. It could be able to help with the community’s energy demands.
Solar windows are also not an inconvenience to humans because they are generally used as windows rather than solar panels. In terms of cost, because solar windows are long-lasting, the electricity expenses will be zero in the long run.
Because all skyscrapers are vertically standing, solar windows take up less horizontal area. They are both sustainable and renewable since the source of energy, the sun, will continue to provide as long as life on Earth exists.
What are the benefits of the Solar Window?
The following are some of the benefits of Solar Windows:
- Environment friendly – Since a solar window is made by merely capturing the sun’s heat, it does not require any chemical processes that might release dangerous substances into the environment. It is also human-friendly since it does not pollute the environment in any way that may affect humans..
- It is cheaper source of energy – Because only the initial cost of investment is included, after which there will be essentially no cost of maintenance, the long-term expenditure for energy production will be zero considering that the energy source is free.
- As long as life can support it, the energy source is sustainable and renewable. The sun, being the source of energy, will continue to burn indefinitely to provide us with the solar energy we require.
- It can generate more jobs – The production of solar windows and the photovoltaic cells and the nano-technology quantum dots spray or film shall be also be produced. We need manpower for that.
- It can generate income or there is a return on investment- There will be no reduction in energy output because solar energy is abundant and extremely sustainable. Energy from the sun is limitless as long as the sun shines; hence, surplus energy will be created. The good news is that this excess energy may be stored and sold to those in need.
How long do Solar Windows last?
Solar windows can last up to thirty (30) years, while the film can last anywhere from fifteen to twenty (20) years. Solar windows, like most solar panels, have a 30-year life expectancy. The advantage of solar windows and solar panels is that their efficiency will not be harmed in as much as their years of use accumulate.
In a research conducted by the Center for Alternative Technology, solar panels with an output of 75 watts were placed in 1997, and when the output was evaluated again in 2010, the result was an average of 68.5 watts, indicating that the panels had been in operation for thirteen years. Also, in Europe, in 2002, they examined the output of solar cells installed in 1982 and found a 20% decline in efficiency after twenty (20) years of operation.
The fact that the reduction in output per year is practically minimal is proof enough that solar windows are a wise investment. If you decide to invest in solar windows, you will undoubtedly get a decent run for your money, since the return on investment will be significantly larger than the loss and danger that it will entail.
How efficient are Solar Windows?
There are numerous systems that produce different outcomes in terms of solar window efficiency, especially since that the rivalry in solar window technology is focused on thin film solar cells. The degree of competitiveness and efficiency is determined not only by effective output conversion, but also by the cost of such technology and its environmental impact.
It’s worth mentioning the technique used by SolarWindows Technologies, Inc., an American firm. Their main focus has been on constructing solar windows that are fifty percent (50%) more efficient than ordinary solar panels at capturing solar energy.
They are also attempting to produce environmentally friendly, nature-sourced, organic renewable materials in addition to creating clean and renewable energy. They’re talking about making a solar coat or film that’s mostly formed of hydrogen and carbon.
This coat will take the shape of ultra-tiny solar cells or solar arrays, trapping and absorbing the sun’s heat and converting it to useful power. Other businesses are moving in the direction of generating thin films made of non-toxic elements.
How to install Solar Windows?
An ordinary thin film should be placed in between window panels for solar windows with photovoltaic cells housed on window panes, ensuring that the inner section of the panels will manage the quantity of heat that will enter the room.
The film will also act as a refractor for sun rays that are directed towards the photovoltaic glazed cells on the outside of the transparent window pane. They just place built-in solar panels on particular portions of certain solar windows.
When installing solar windows, ultra-thin film or coatings, or quantum dots spray, are used to act as ultra-tiny solar cells or solar arrays. The film is easily applied to the glass pane or sprayed upon it.
Then, along this film, ultra-thin wires will be constructed so that, as soon as the solar power is captured and converted to electrical currents, it can be transmitted straight to the storage system, such as the battery. These solar windows must be placed in such a way that they capture the most amount of solar energy possible during the day.
Solar window blinds are also available, with small solar panels inserted amid the blinds. These blinds can be rotated to follow the sun’s path, maximizing the amount of solar energy captured. Outside or inside the window, these solar window shades may be hung.
Cost and Returns of Solar Windows
As per the survey results of an international Survey agency, Our World Data, regarding the price of an average photovoltaic module in 2019, the price is 0.38 Dollars per watt output. Its price has significantly dropped from 100 Dollars per watt in 1976 to 5 Dollars per watt output in year 2000. That is roughly P20.00/watt in year 2019.
If you are paying an average of two thousand five hundred pesos (P2,500.00/mo.) for an electrical consumption monthly at 250KW meter, then, this could be a better reason to shift to solar windows in the near future when the technology is fully available in the country.
For a 300 KW / month or a 10KW a day, you would need at least a 10 KW solar panel output in a day,
The Price of 10KW Solar Panel Output based on 2019 price is @ P20/watt x 1000 watts/KW x 10KW
Computing for ROI:
ROI = P200,000.00 /P2,500 per month = P80 months / 12 months
= 6.7 or 7 years
Granting that there is additional cost on the film and other costs, if we double the return of ROI to 14 years, this would still be a good investment as the lifespan of the Solar Windows is 30 years.
With humanity’s present rate of energy consumption, the cost of fossil fuel energy is growing every year, and our world’s discovered fossil fuel resource will last for 47 years.
The unexpected impacts of climate change throughout the world caused by man’s disregard for the environment, as seen by his continued use of hazardous items that pollute the earth, will have, undoubtedly, a detrimental impact.
We can’t help but look for other energy sources. What could be better than utilizing the most plentiful and affordable source of energy that our sun and solar energy can provide?
In terms of technology, the development of solar windows as an alternative to standard solar panels placed on rooftops is a significant success. Its contribution will not only give humanity with options on how to install solar panels, but it will also supply man with one of the most cost-effective and efficient alternative energy sources in the near future.
The current trend in solar windows is to make ultra-thin film solar arrays that are the cheapest, most organic, and most plentiful. Despite its great demand and usage, the costs of the film on the market are falling due to advances in technology.
Its effectiveness in catching solar energy is improving. It’s high time for it to be innovatively applied to residential windows after being installed in tall buildings and skyscrapers. The cost of energy consumption from fossil fuel sources will be drastically decreased as a result.