Saving energy is all the rage these days, and solar energy has been on the rise for at least the last 10 years. With the invention of solar panels, engineers have been working on creating a window to give homeowners the benefit of at-home solar energy. The biggest stumbling block for this invention has been the lack of transparency for the windows to function as normal while having solar benefits. Now, engineering for solar windows in homes is now closer than ever before.
The University of Milan-Bicocca and researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory recently had a breakthrough that allows windows to maintain their transparency while harvesting solar energy. The breakthrough came from researchers creating a new generation of Quantam Dots that are embedded into transparent polymer. Quantam Dots are semiconductors made from nano crystals. These Quantam Dots capture sunlight and transport it through the plastic mix, aiding in the generation of solar energy. Since solar cells don’t absorb all surrounding light, sunlight is still able to pass through, giving us an aesthetic-looking window that looks just about the same as any other window.
Since the solar window is still in the very early stages of its development, there is not much known about any other aspects of the window. It’s no question that it’s efficient, but it’s unclear how efficient it is for keeping warm and cold air from entering the home. Regardless of overall efficiency, it’s still a pretty impressive discovery. If solar windows are cost effective, it’ll be interesting to see how popular they will become in standard homes.
Until then, we’ll fantasize about Solar Triple Pane Windows. Anything is possible, right?