Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic modules, have been around for a while, enabling people to use sunlight as an efficient, green energy source. However, the problem with solar panels is that they require ample space – both on the ground and/or rooftops – in order to generate sufficient energy that could actually be used for power applications.
Nonetheless, we cannot deny the dilemma of the contemporary world: space limitations.
In big cities, and now even in small, space has become a major concern. Thus, in recent years, a number of firms have worked towards finding a solution to this problem, and it is safe to say that they did: solar glass, popularly known as solar windows. Though the potential of solar glass has been widely talked about, it hasn’t yet reached the critical mass.
In this post, we’ll discuss what solar glass is and understand how it converts windows into power-generating panels, along with some benefits and uses.
What Is Solar Glass?
To the eye, solar glass seems like any other glass. However, in theory, it’s one of the most critical barriers of conventional solar panels shielding solar cells against harmful external factors, such as vapor, water, and dirt. In addition to this, solar glass is also effectively used in solar windows that come with built-in solar panels. They resemble ordinary windows but feature photovoltaic glazing, which converts sunlight into renewable energy.
The two most common types of solar glass are:
- Crystalline Cell (such as monocrystalline or polycrystalline)
- Thin-Film Modules(such as cadmium telluride, amorphous silicon)
However, thin-film solar glass is most widely used as it can be designed into a building’s fabric and effectively performs in locations and/or conditions where crystalline silicon panels (traditional solar panels) fail to perform. Moreover, solar glasses provide varying efficiency that majorly depends on their opacity (self-varies between fifty percent transparent to fully opaque). Remember, the higher opacity a solar glass has, the more efficient it’d be. However, being less transparent would let less sunlight penetrate through.
How Does Solar Glass Work?
Solar glass comprises solar cells that convert sunlight into green, usable energy. Meaning, during the daytime, light passing through the solar glass windows can provide your home with free renewable electricity. Moreover, any extra energy is stored in a solar battery (if you have one for later use) or delivered to the National Grid.
In order to convert conventional windows into solar windows, the windows are attached to photovoltaic glazing that encloses solar cells to capture solar energy. The stored solar energy is then converted into usable energy that can power electrical appliances throughout the property.
What Are the Benefits of Solar Glass?
Producing electricity with solar energy (that’s free and renewable!) is indeed one of the most efficient ways to power your house, office, building, shop, etc. Though solar panels aren’t practical for all sorts of properties, solar glass technology enables more people to produce their own renewable electricity. Please note that free electricity that can lower your electricity bill isn’t the only benefit of solar glass windows.
Here are some other leading benefits of solar glass:
- Blocks UV Radiation– Ultraviolet rays from the sun can damage furniture pieces and create issues like color fading and burning. Solar glass windows effectively block UV rays making their way into your house, allowing your furniture to maintains its appeal for longer.
- Aids in Reducing Indoor Temperature– Summers can get really hot nowadays (thanks to Global warming), and more so in certain areas or properties. There’s no denying that much of this heat is produced by sunlight making its way via the windows. Switching to solar glass windows effectively absorbs solar heat, giving you a cooler temperature inside.
- Inexpensive Installation– Solar glass window installation charges compared to solar panels are notably low. Believe us, a window replacement process way more direct than installing solar panels on your roof. By choosing solar glass windows, you’d not only be saving time but also an awful amount of money on installation expenses.
- Prevent Glares– Glares can be infuriating, especially when they are on the television. Thanks to solar glass windows, now you can reduce and even prevent glares to a much lower level.
Solar Glass Applications
Solar glass is a type of “Building Integrated Photo-voltaic” (BIPV). BIPV tech is assimilated within a building structure rather than installing it onto a building. Meaning, people seeking to produce their own renewable energy can successfully and easily do so without the need for solar panels.
Generally, solar glass is used for substituting regular building materials in parts such as windows, skylights, roofs, and facades while also producing electricity on-site. The core distinction between the recent solar glass technology and conventional solar photovoltaic is that the solar panels are built into a structure rather than adding them on. This enables a greater relationship between functionality and aesthetics.
Here are some popular solar glass applications:
- Semi-transparent or translucent solar windows
- Rear-ventilated facades
- Curtain walling or rain screens
- Solar protection louvers and fins
- Bus shelters
- Transparent solar glass roofs
- Privacy protection panels
- Fencing and balustrade
There’s no denying that solar glass has a lot of potentials to revolutionize the renewable energy industry. And we believe soon; it’ll reach its true heights. If you want to learn more about solar glass and whether it could fit into your project, feel free to get in touch.
To learn more about solar energy and guides on how to best utilize it, be sure to check the rest of our blog section!