The future of solar energy in the U.S. has largely been a vision of panels on every roof and silver fields of solar farms. But what about other surfaces, like windows?
By Meredith Rutland Bauer | MOTHERBOARD
Window pane solar panels don’t have a large presence in the solar energy market. But with massive metropolises boasting skyscrapers with thousands of windows each—let alone the half-dozen windows in each home—why hasn’t this option taken hold?
The reason boils down to the way solar panels capture energy. Most solar cells are photovoltaic, so they collect energy by absorbing light and then excite electrons to a conductive state. Opaque panels are able to trap more sunlight to convert into energy than a transparent one can—for a few reasons, but if light is brightening a room, it can’t also be used for power generation.