Marc Baldo at MIT and John Bell at Queensland University in Australia have different approaches but fundamentally the same practical idea. Instead of solar panels on the rooftop, use the existing window surface to collect sunlight and generate power.
John Bell and team’s work focuses on a thin film of titanium dioxide layered into the window. This is coated with a dye to increase light absorption. The windows have slight red hue, but are completely see through. This same glass could be used on skylights, atriums, doors or windows. An average home in Australia would require about 10 square meters of this glass to provide it’s power. Assuming US houses are bigger and we get less sun (a good assumption), you are talking about 10-15 standard double hung windows.
This technology is a few years away from production and you would still need the inverters and electrical systems in the house. But imagine the possibility for new home, mall, and office building construction. What premium would they have to pay in price to add this power generation into their facilities?
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