Entire Buildings can Generate Power from Coloured Glass Technology

13th Feb 2013

Oxford Photovoltaics, a solar company linked to the University of Oxford, has received £2 million from the clean tech investors MTI Partners, in order to advance the development of its solar glass technology. They have developed the ability to manufacture glass of virtually any colour with the capability of producing electricity due to the inbuilt solar PV cells, and bring the whole product closer to market release.

The coloured glass is coated in a thin layer of transparent solar PV cells which operate at around 12$ efficiency, and the idea is to use the technology for buildings that have glass walls (common on many modern commercial buildings) or just in place of the windows. The electricity produced could then be used to power the building or sold to the national grid.

Kevin Arthur, founder and CEO of Oxford Photovoltaics, told the Guardian that, “rather than attach photovoltaics to the building, why not make the building the photovoltaics? If you decide to build a building out of glass, then you've already decided to pay for the glass. If you add this, you're adding a very small extra cost. The solar cell treatment costs no more than 10% of the cost of the facade.”

Glass used on commercial buildings usually costs around £600 to £1,000 per square metre, so the addition of the PV capabilities should only cost about £60 to £100.

He explained that, “within reason we can print any colour, there's a wide range of dyes, blues and greens and reds and so on. But different colours have different efficiencies: black is very high, green is pretty good and red is good, but blue is less good.”

By. Charles Kennedy