Electricity through my window

MIT opens new ‘window’ on solar energy

Cost effective devices expected on market soon

glass facades

glass facades

Imagine windows that not only provide a clear view and illuminate rooms, but also use sunlight to efficiently help power the building they are part of. MIT engineers report a new approach to harnessing the sun’s energy that could allow just that.

The work, to be reported in the July 11 issue of Science, involves the creation of a novel “solar concentrator.” “Light is collected over a large area [like a window] and gathered, or concentrated, at the edges,” explains Marc A. Baldo, leader of the work and the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering.

As a result, rather than covering a roof with expensive solar cells (the semiconductor devices that transform sunlight into electricity), the cells only need to be around the edges of a flat glass panel. In addition, the focused light increases the electrical power obtained from each solar cell “by a factor of over 40,” Baldo says.

Because the system is simple to manufacture, the team believes that it could be implemented within three years–even added onto existing solar-panel systems to increase their efficiency by 50 percent for minimal additional cost. That, in turn, would substantially reduce the cost of solar electricity.

LINK

> http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/solarcells-0710.html

WIRED SCIENCE: See-Through Solar Hack Could Double Panel Efficiency:

LINK> blog.wired.com

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2 thoughts on “Electricity through my window

  1. Pingback: Shahar Helel 2010 » How about a motion energy operated mouse

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