Can a Solar Panel Window Achieve Financial Payback in Under One Year?
Kagan Pittman posted on September 03, 2015 |

SolarWindow Technologies has recently promoted an electricity-generating window they claim is capable of achieving financial payback within one year, the industry’s fastest published return.

The company states that their transparent window coatings installed on a 50-story building could generate up to 50 times more power than conventional rooftop solar systems, while still allowing light to pass through.

“Solar Window modules could provide the equivalent reductions in CO2 emissions produced by as much as 770 acres of forest sequestering CO2,” the company told ENGINEERING.com. “Today’s rooftop systems could only provide the equivalent CO2 reductions produced by 20 to 70 acres of forest sequestering CO2.”

To put this in perspective, SolarWindow explained that their power production model for a 50-story skyscraper located in Manhattan, NY estimates approximately two million pounds of CO2 equivalents.

It' hoped that SolarWindow technology would replace the need for other energy producing processes, as the power model takes into account a variety of factors.

“The power model estimator considers building geographic location, solar radiation for flat-plate collectors (SolarWindow irradiance is derated to account for a 360 ͦ building orientation and vertical installation), climate zone energy use and generalized skyscraper building characteristics when estimating PV power, energy production and CO2 equivalents,” the company explained.

Image courtesy SolarWindow Technologies Inc.
Image courtesy SolarWindow Technologies Inc.
The SolarWindow’s glass coatings use organic photovoltaics (OPVs) and are reported to work even in artificial light, low-light and shaded settings. The modules can be connected to a building’s load center or power panel using the same equipment used by conventional photovoltaic modules.

The power output of an individual window is based on color, transparency and window size. SolarWindow plans to release more specific information on power levels in the future.

To prove their claims, SolarWindow sought verification.

Engineers and research scientists at the University of North Carolina Charlotte Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (UNCC-EPIC) independently reviewed the company’s SolarWindow proprietary Power Production and Financial Model.

A team led by PE and assistant director at UNCC-EPIC, David Causey, validated modeling assumptions, reference data and SolarWindow’s technology to verify the one-year financial payback period.

“SolarWindow coatings, when installed on tall towers and skyscrapers, could serve as a much sought-after clean micro-grid energy solution,” Causey said.

Causey has worked as an engineer operating nuclear plants, coal, natural gas and renewable energy projects, with over 30 years of experience in mechanical system and component design for power generation.

This validation only accounts for SolarWindows power production data however. Real-world testing of an installation on an actual building has not been done.

“Having released the industry’s most compelling financial results, we now plan to aggressively push forward with maximizing durability and ensuring ease of large scale manufacturing,” said John A. Conklin, president and CEO of SolarWindow Technologies.

A price point for a single installation has not yet been made public.

SolarWindow transparent window coatings are currently under development for the estimated 85 million commercial buildings and detached homes in the United States.

A webcast by SolarWindow Technologies went live August 20th and can be viewed here.

To learn more about the SolarWindow, visit SolarWindow.com

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