Today’s solar panels may quickly become a thing of the past, and instead, a world where all glass surfaces generate solar energy could soon become reality.
Leading window manufacturer Andersen Corporation announced its official partnership with Ubiquitous Energy, a California-based startup that invented a coating that turns average glass into solar panels.
Andersen led investments in Ubiquitous’ Series B funding last year, but will now move forward with the development of the first energy-generating windows and doors.
The patented invention, deemed UE Power, takes traditional photovoltaic technology and modifies it on a nano level to take those silicon semiconductors we see in panels today and turn them into 1 micron thick cells. By going down to the nano level of these small molecule materials, they can modify those compositions to make them transparent and filter infrared and UV rays to be turned into electricity while letting visible light through.
The technology is applied as a coating onto the glass, and windows are then connected to connectors, cables, and busbars to transport the generated energy. This coating is applied under vacuum to one pane of glass, using the same process as low-E coatings.
“We didn’t want to introduce anything that was really a disrupter or changer to the existing supply chain for [the window] market so we can hopefully seamlessly fit our technology into their process,” VP of Strategy Veeral Hardev previously told Pro Remodeler.
Andersen has more than 225 patents, and the company says this recent move marks an interest in advancing the fenestration industry by working toward a healthier environment.
“Our vision is to develop products that go beyond energy efficiency to energy generation,” said Brandon Berg, senior vice president of research, development, and innovation at Andersen Corporation. “This is a powerful opportunity to leverage our industry leadership, product development expertise, and manufacturing capabilities to help bring innovative new products to market that will improve the homeowner experience and make the world a better place.”