Producing electricity through windows is the future - solar windows

Imagine if your windows are transparent solar panel

What are photovoltaic cells and their roles?

Photovoltaic cells converts the sunlight into electrical energy.The photovoltaic cell(PV) commonly called as solar cell which is an nonmechanical device which converts the light energy directly into electrical energy and some PV cells can also convert artificial light into electrical energy.


A PV cell is made up of semiconductor material.When the photon strike the PV cell they may reflect off the cell or pass through the cell or absorbed by the semiconductor material.When the semiconductor material gets the enough of sunlight the electrons are dislodged from the materials atom.Hence the electrons naturally migrate to the surface of the cell.

History of photovoltaics

The first practical PV cell was developed in 1954 by Bell Telephone researchers. Beginning in the late 1950s, PV cells were used to power U.S. space satellites. By the late 1970s, PV panels were providing electricity in remote, or off-grid, locations that did not have electric power lines. Since 2004, most PV systems in the United States are grid-connected—they are connected to an electric power grid. 

They are installed on or near homes and buildings and at utility-scale power plants that have at least 1 megawatt of electric generation capacity. Technological advances, lower costs for PV systems, and various financial incentives and government policies have helped to greatly expand PV use since the mid-1990s. Hundreds of thousands of grid-connected PV systems are now installed in the United States.

Transparent solar panel were pioneered at Michigan State University and are now being installed commercially.The US alone is estimated  to have between five to seven billion square meters of glass surface.Solar windows look like regular windows but act as solar panels, generating electricity from the sun.

Source: ONYX solar

Solar panel windows are already being  used and have great potential to meet the world's energy needs from the renewable. Researcher at Michigan State University developed the Transparent solar windows at 2014.Transparent solar panels look like clear glass and let light to pass through it.

But they are made with a type of glass which absorbs the ultra violet and infrared types of light that cannot be seen by the naked eye.

The flow of electricity in a solar cell 

The movement of electrons carrying a negative charge towards the front surface of solar photovoltaic cell creates an imbalance aof electric charge between front and back cells surfaces.The imbalance in the photovoltaic cell creates an voltage potential like the positive and negative terminals of the battery.Electrical conductors on the cell absorb the electrons.And when the conductors are connected in an electrical circuit to an external load such as battery ,the electricity flows through the circuits.

The efficiency of photovoltaic systems 

The efficiency of commercially available PV panels averaged less than 10 percent in mid-1980's increased to around 15 percent in 2015 and now approaching 25 percent for the state of art modules.Experimental PV cells and PV cells for niche markets such as space satellites has achieved nearly 50 percentage.

Some advantages of PV systems are:

PV systems can supply electricity in the location where electricity distribution  system does not exist and they can supply electricity to the electricity grid.

PV cell can be installed easily and can be in any size.

The environmental  effects of PV systems located on building is minimal.Large systems can provide electricity to pump water,power communication equipments and supply electricity for single home or business areas.

Challenges :

Till now the biggest challenge is that the sun does not shine 24 hours a whilst night time is ofcourse predictable and in daylight the energy can still be captured in cloudy conditions but the amount of energy that we get varies day by day .


Increasing adoption:The use of solar energy is expected to continue to grow rapidly with many countries setting ambitious targets for the development of solar power.

Innovation in technology:The companies are constantly innovating with new technologies being developed all time.some of the promising developments in solar industry include the use of nano materials to increase the efficiency of solar cells ,the development of transparent solar panels that can be integrated into windows and other buildings materials to optimize the performance of solar systems.

It also includes the following advantages of photovoltaic cells:

  • Renewable
  • Low maintenance cost
  • Electricity bill reduction
  • Energy independence 
  • Increases home values

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