Print 37 comment(s) - last by Keeir.. on Oct 25 at 9:01 PM

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 zephyrprime on 9/26/2012 5:10:59 PM , Rating: 2
The majority of the cost of a solar panel is actually in the installation. The cost efficacy of a panel like this comes from the fact that in new construction, you already need to pay someone to install your glass panels anyway. As a stand alone installation on existing construction, a panel like this is very cost ineffective compared to a dedicated solar panel.

RE: Worth ANY upcharge?
By wordsworm on 9/26/2012 9:53:57 PM , Rating: 2
There would be another step, however. All the panels would need to be wired. So, a regular panel installation would not quite be the same. That said, I think stuff like this is pretty cool.

RE: Worth ANY upcharge?
By JPForums on 9/27/2012 1:23:35 PM , Rating: 2
The majority of the cost of a solar panel is actually in the installation.
Bingo! Though, there is some added cost in wire installation.

Another point working in Sharp's favor is that these panels are intended to replace tinted or frosted glass installations. As such, they only need to justify the cost above and beyond the cost of the glass that was originally going to be installed.

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