New Energy Technologies Inc. has successfully debuted its proprietarySolarWindow technology, capable of transforming everyday surfaces, suchas glass, into electricity-generating windows, on September 16 at theUniversity of South Florida (USF) to a standing-room-only crowd ofinvestors, academics, commercial glass companies, and members of themedia.
Company president and CEO, John A. Conklin, revealed thatthe application of SolarWindow to exterior glass surfaces of commercialtowers could generate energy savings several-fold greater than today’srooftop solar systems during his introduction of New Energy’sSolarWindow, the world’s first see-thru, spray-on technology of itskind.
In commercial applications, such as the building facades of office towers, engineers conservatively estimate that installation ofNew Energy’s SolarWindow can generate more than 300 percent energysavings over conventional rooftop solar systems. Key to maximizingenergy production, SolarWindow can be applied to the extensive glasssurfaces on commercial skyscrapers, an important advantage overconventional solar systems confined to installation on space-prohibitive rooftops.
By way of example, engineers modeling a 40-storybuilding, similar to Tampa’s landmark “100 North Tampa,” estimate annual cost-savings of $40,000 to $70,000 when installing New Energy’sSolarWindow to exposed window facades. In contrast, mounting today’spopular poly-crystalline silicon modules on the rooftop produces only$20,000 in energy savings per year.
The company expects topublish comprehensive performance data in upcoming weeks, followingindependent, third-party measurement and engineering validation.
“The successful public demonstration of SolarWindow boldly underscores ourconfidence in the technology, and marks a significant achievement forall of our stakeholders who have patiently supported us as we’ve workedtowards this milestone,” stated Conklin.
“I’m eager toaggressively advance this technology towards commercial prototyping inpreparation for eventual full-scale production to capitalize on ourmarket of more than five million commercial buildings and 80 milliondetached homes in America.”
SolarWindow: Early performance prompts commercialization efforts
Researchers at the debut event shared early technical hurdles and subsequentachievements, which enabled advancement from concept to workingprototype, further explaining that efforts are now focused on productdevelopment for commercialization of New Energy’s see-thru SolarWindow.
SolarWindow is made possible by spraying an electricity-generating coating on toglass at room temperature – an important attribute highlighted byresearchers. Scientists also demonstrated numerous features of NewEnergy’s SolarWindow, including its ability to remain see-thru whilegenerating electricity. Unique to SolarWindow, both natural andartificial light were used in demonstrations to generate electricity.
Following Conklin’s introduction, scientists powered lights on a scale-modelhouse by exposing New Energy’s see-thru SolarWindow to artificial lightfrom fluorescent lamps, mimicking lighting typically installed insideoffices. In artificial light, SolarWindow technology outperforms today’s commercial solar and thin-films by as much as 10-fold underlow-intensity irradiance.
Researchers then repeatedly opened andclosed the boardroom’s window shades, successfully powering LED lightseach time SolarWindow was exposed to natural light. This demonstrationmimicked outdoor exposure such as sunlight on the exterior façade ofcommercial buildings – New Energy’s initial target market and apromising early application of its technology.
Importantly,scientists at the event not only demonstrated the ability to generate‘voltage’ to power lighting, but also revealed SolarWindow’s capacity to produce ‘current’ necessary for powering mechanical devices andappliances.
Following a boardroom display of LED lights poweredby SolarWindow using both natural sunlight and artificial fluorescentlight sources, attendees crowded inside inventor and Lead Researcher Dr. Xiaomei Jiang’s laboratory where PhD-candidate and Researcher JasonLewis, successfully powered the mechanical rotor blades of a smallhelicopter using only a single, small-scale SolarWindow prototype.
New Energy’s working SolarWindow prototype is a precursor to thedevelopment of a commercial scale prototype and eventual full-scaleproduction. Low production costs, improved manufacturability andincreased power performance are among important, recently announcedobjectives researchers are now targeting.
Key to these advancesare the development of new methods and technologies for applying NewEnergy’s electricity-generating coatings to glass surfaces.
Electrical power is generated on glass when New Energy’s SolarWindow coatings aresprayed onto surfaces using commercially available equipment. Thispatent-pending process enables researchers to spray SolarWindow coatings onto glass at room temperature, eliminating expensive and oftencumbersome high-temperature or high-vacuum production methods typicallyused by current solar manufacturers.