Solar Windows : Representation Purpose

Solar windows – Never been looked upon as a good endeavour. However, this simple innovation may assume a huge function in our battle against environmental change not long from now.

What is the need for a Solar windows?

We as a civilization have exploited earth to such an extent that if scientists are to be believed we have 150 years of coal reserve and 50 years oil reserves left for use. This gives rise to a serious concern of how can we minimize our dependencies on these limited fuel sources.

 We receive an abundant amount of solar energy to provide for our energy usages. All that is needed is to explore methods to make this form of energy cheap and easily available common masses.

https://solargis.com/maps-and-gis-data/download/india
Image Courtesy : Solargis

 

A metropolitan city like Delhi has an average solar irradiance of 5-6 kW/m2/day.

Few things we need to consider before the installation of solar panels are :

  1. Your Roof Condition, Material, and Layout.
  2. Your Location
  3. Your Panel Options

Layout and Rooftop conditions are the principal considerations for setting up the solar panel.

To get better of the available resources, engineers formulated and brought this concept of changing solar panels into sun-oriented windows.

What is the construction of the Solar Window?

Unlike conventional windows, solar windows are capable of absorbing and transforming solar energy into electrical energy.

Construction

Contruction of Solar Windows
Construction Solar windows : Sketch by Hitarth Bhatt

The solar windows are a layer over another, each of these layers is there to serve their purposes. Since we need the windows to be transparent a part of the visible light energy is wasted in this manner.

The upper layer of this window is made by depositing a layer of highly emissive manganese-doped quantum dots. This highly emissive doping absorbs the light of the blue and ultraviolet portions of the solar spectrum, while the rest of the spectrum is picked up by the bottom layer.

The bottom layer is of copper indium selenide quantum dots onto the surface of the back pane.  

The spectrum absorbed on the upper surface is re-emitted at a longer wavelength and then goes through total internal reflection to the edges of the Window.  

How does solar windows work?

Every Photovoltaic cell absorbs energy from the photon in sunlight, and all the all photons in the visible region mainly contribute to the production  of electricity

The need for solar windows to be transparent leads to another problem. Being a window, they must let the visible light pass through them, and this affects the efficiency as most photons with the wavelength required to excite the electrons fall in the visible region.

To overcome this issue engineers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have designed a special type of solar windows, double-pane solar windows that generate electricity and by absorbing photons from different parts of the solar spectrum.

Working of Solar Windows : Sketch by Hitarth Bhatt

Working of Solar Windows

The top pane is designed to absorb the blue and ultraviolet portions of the solar spectrum, while the rest of the spectrum is absorbed by the up by the bottom layer.

Working of Solar Windows : Sketch by Hitarth Bhatt

The portion of the light absorbed by the upper layer is are now converted into photons with higher wavelength and are guided back to the lower portion of the window by Total Internal Reflection (TIR). These photos are now collected by the solar cells integrated into these windows and converted it into electricity.

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What is the efficiency of Solar Windows?

Research in continuously going on for improving the efficiencies of Solar Windows.

Here is a summary of the efficiencies of the Solar Windows claimed by various companies and research organizations.

Claimed byEfficiency
University of Michigan8%
National Renewable Energy Laboratory, (NREL)11.3%
Efficiency of Solar Windows

What is the Future of Solar Window Technology?

With endless chances and arrangements accessible, the sun-powered energy industry is continually hoping to make new techniques for producing Electricity through Solar.

It might take some time to improve the efficiency of these windows but once these windows are cost-effective, they can be a good alternative for Solar panels for places that do not have a proper layout for setting up solar panels.

A significant amount of effort is being put into letting the user control the transparency of the windows, the amount of light one needs in their room can be controlled easily.

Large buildings having lots of windows can easily take advantage of this technology like:

  • Corporate headquarters
  • Commercial buildings
  • Apartment complexes

What are the Environmental and Functional Advantages of Solar Windows?

In contrast to oil and coal, sun-oriented power sources don’t dump poisonous synthetic substances into the air or add to ozone harming substance discharges. It decreases our need to consume petroleum derivatives, which brings about drop-in air contamination and ozone-depleting substances.

  • Clean Energy
  • Renewable
  • Helps in reducing your Carbon Footprint

Note: Picture used in Cover Image is courtesy of http://latestoftomorrow.blogspot.com/2011/09/energy-from-window.html

Abhinav
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