Sharp Debuts Rimless, Semi-transparent Solar Cells for Builders
September 26, 2012 2:42 PM
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Now your architectural glass can produce power
Sharp Corp. (
) announced in a
a semi-transparent black
architectural glass panel
that has build in photovoltaic generation (aka solar power) capabilities.
The panel is 4.5-ft. x 3.2ft -- about the size of a glass coffee table. It is a slender 0.37 in. thick. Sharp brags the panel is "beautifully in harmony with the building".
The panel is laminated glass infused with semi-transparent
thin film solar cells
. The cells both generate power and act as a natural insulator serving as a heat barrier. Plus their black color could offer an extra degree of privacy to residents in buildings with the panels.
The panel can produce up to 95 watts at 6.8 percent efficiency [
] -- not great, but okay when you consider its multi-utility (construction, privacy, insulation, and generation).
An artist's depiction of a building equipped with the special glass panels. [Image Source: Sharp Japan]
The panel will start shipping in Japan on Oct. 1, but no U.S. date has been announced. Also not announced was one critical metric -- pricing in Japan.
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RE: Is 6.5% good or bad?
9/26/2012 3:59:07 PM
7% as a record is probably for a specific type of solar cell like a thin film panel which is very different from a multi-junction cell. A multi-junction cell is much more expensive but provides triple or more the efficiency. Beyond that you can also talk about efficiency at the cell level or the panel level and that may or may not include mirrors/lenses/etc to focus more light on the same area.
Ultimately time will tell. If these are cheap enough and work well enough they can still find usage and provide some amount of power.
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