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Now your architectural glass can produce power

Sharp Corp. (TYO:6753) announced in a press release 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 [source] -- not great, but okay when you consider its multi-utility (construction, privacy, insulation, and generation).

Sharp solar panels
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.

Sources: Sharp [translated], CNET



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RE: Worth ANY upcharge?
By tayb on 9/26/2012 4:41:21 PM , Rating: 5
Given that pricing was not mentioned in the article how can you possibly calculate whether or not it is worth the added expense? It's a window that acts as a power generating panel that adds extra heat shielding and privacy. Depending on how long this thing is designed to last it may pay for itself many times over but we don't know because the price isn't mentioned.

Why do people go into bash mode when they hear about solar? We're getting better. The fact that 6.5% is now considered poor is incredible.


RE: Worth ANY upcharge?
By JPForums on 9/27/2012 1:40:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The fact that 6.5% is now considered poor is incredible.
Indeed, but that doesn't make the current crop good enough. We still have a ways to go before solar panels become effective solutions. There are three improvements I can think of that could push solar into viability, efficiency, cost, flexibility, or a combination of these. Efficiency is marching forward slowly but surely. Cost is coming down, but usually (unfortunately) at the expense of efficiency. Sharp's new panels address the flexibility issue (at least in part). Panels need to be easier to install with wider absorption angles to broaden field of possible installations.
quote:
Given that pricing was not mentioned in the article how can you possibly calculate whether or not it is worth the added expense?
Here's hoping it is priced reasonably over alternate frosted/tinted/insulating glass.


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