Report: Transparent and building-integrated panels the future of solar

Date: 13 December 2011
Transparent and building-integrated solar technologies will be the way forward for solar, according to a report from NanoMarkets.

NanoMarkets tracks and analyzes emerging market opportunities for energy, electronics and other goods.

Lawrence Gasman, one of the lead analysts on the organization’s latest report, said that the only way solar will succeed will be in these new fields of transparent and building-integrated photovoltaics. But he added that he doesn’t believe even those roads will be smooth.

“Solar is a really, really lousy deal economically,” Gasman said, “especially as the subsidies fall away.”

The saving grace, he said, will be the ability to integrate the expensive technology into already expensive building materials, so the cost becomes a smaller fraction of the overall expense.

“Architectural glass, for example,” Gasman said. “I don’t know if you’ve ever dealt with architectural glass, but it ain’t cheap. Adding solar to that is just a drop in the bucket.”

Integrating solar into glass in general presents opportunities to be creative with solar installations and put them in places where they wouldn’t otherwise be found and to allow them to blend in with their settings.

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