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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: Is 6.5% good or bad?
By Keeir on 9/26/2012 10:46:26 PM , Rating: 2
I am pretty sure the "40%" is using concentrators. It kinda becomes difficult to measure the efficieny of this type of panel fairly versus others. Due to the parabolic nature of a concentrator, typically only small (compared to human size) panels are capable of getting these extreme measures, and then the whole apparatus tends be somewhat distored efficieny as typically its power produced/power sent into panel, not the better measurement in my mind of power produced/sunlight disturbed


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