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What if windows could generate solar power?

Sunlight reflects on the windows of a tall skyscraper, while a cityscape and a mountain appear in the background. Caption reads:

What if any surface could harvest solar solar power? Ubiquitous Energy, a solar tech company founded by MIT scientists, has created a transparent photovoltaic glass coating called UE Power that, according to its creators, could turn any surface into a tiny solar panel. The company, however, is prioritising the use of UE Power on windows in an attempt to help buildings reduce their colossal climate footprint.

While standard solar panels soak up the full light spectrum, UE Power only absorbs UV and near-infrared light. This makes the photovoltaic glass less efficient than standard solar panels, but the company claims that UE Power’s versatility could lead to a larger-scale deployment, as the coating could potentially be installed on most buildings without compromising aesthetics.

Aesthetic concerns prove especially important in cities with heritage conservation laws that struggle to find a balance between cultural preservation and the urgent need for an energy transition. Ubiquitous Energy are not the only company to consider this issue; Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel and her studio have been using the power of design to integrate solar energy into daily environments.

Mashable reported
on UE Power back in 2020. Since then, the technology has been installed in countries like the U.S., Canada, and Japan, and the company has announced the opening of its first factory in 2024.



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