A California startup develops Windows to collect solar energy

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At Ubiquitous Energy’s headquarters in Redwood City, the familiar black solar panels on the roof are quite evident. But the company’s conference room lights are powered by the windows, which also act as solar collectors.

Solar energy is often considered the most sustainable way to power a modern society, but finding enough space for all the panels can be a challenge.

“That’s kind of the problem we’ve been looking to solve with our technology. How can you make solar technology completely invisible? And by making it invisible, we can now apply it to many other surfaces,” said Miles Barr, co-founder of UE. and Chief Technology Officer.

Barr said his company invented an invisible coating using photosensitive dyes that capture energy from only the non-visible infrared and ultraviolet spectra, turning windows into transparent solar panels.

“So you can use the whole area, the whole vertical surface of a glass skyscraper to generate electricity that can be used by the building,” he told KPIX 5. “You could in fact generate up to 30% of a building’s energy needs just from the glass area of ​​the building.”

The possibilities are staggering. Each year, more than 20 billion square feet of glass are installed worldwide, enough to circle the Earth 100 times.

CEO Susan Stone told KPIX 5 that their windows are an innovation that offers change without sacrifice.

“You were going to put that glass on anyway. So we’re not talking about putting in a whole new solar system,” Stone said. “We’re talking, you buy a window and now do you want to pay a little more for your window to also generate electricity? , where no one ever imagined solar energy could be.”

The company has already formed a partnership with Andersen Windows and plans to begin full-scale production in 2024.

The technology can be applied to both commercial and residential use and can either charge a centralized battery or be used in the window itself to power “smart” features, such as remote-controlled blinds.

But this is only the beginning. Theoretically, the same coating could be applied to any hard or painted surface, so electronic devices and even parked cars could charge.

“Our mission is to enable every surface around us to generate its own renewable electricity,” Barr said.

“This is absolutely just the beginning,” Stone said, “starting with the windows, but the sky’s the limit.”

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