A UK start-up has developed an innovative new form of “solar glass” that could allow glass-fronted commercial buildings such as skyscrapers to generate enough energy to power their lighting and IT systems.
Spun out from Oxford University in late 2010, Oxford Photovoltaics (PV) has combined a dye-based thin film solar cell with glass substrates to produce tinted glass that simultaneously acts as a solar generation system.
“We screen print metal oxides, dyes, plastics and polymers directly on to glass,” explained Kevin Arthur, chief executive of the company. “Light reacts with the dye to create a current that we collect through two terminals, just like a standard battery.”
“We have small prototype cells that are 10cm by 10cm, but we want to move to a full scale pilot production line that can make panels that are two metres by three metres,” he said, adding that the company aims to complete its funding round later this year and have its first batch of solar glass panels commercially available by the third quarter of 2013.