Solar technology is moving in interesting new directions that Katahdin Cedar Log Homes is following closely. We include Andersen Windows in our packages because of their quality, craftsmanship and superior efficiency. Now Andersen has invested in a new company that plans to harvest solar energy from glass windows. We talked with Veeral Hardev, Vice President of Strategy at Ubiquitous Energy about their breakthrough technology.
The start-up company is developing transparent technology that selectively harvests and absorbs non-visible light to generate electricity. The specialized coating collects ultraviolet and infrared light and converts it to electricity, while allowing visible light to pass through the glass. The result is a transparent glass window (see left) that also acts as an invisible solar collector. The coated solar window provides onboard energy that can be stored or used for several useful functions in a home.
The onboard power collection point wiring creates a direct current microgrid for powering lighting, charging a battery, or providing real-time sensor data for heating and cooling controls. “This opportunity for dynamic data for heating and cooling or security provides another appealing benefit to these solar power windows,” said Hardev. “The benefits of 360-degree monitoring around a solar energy window home offers many ways to boost efficiency and safety.”
The coatings also provide good thermal insulating performance by absorbing and harvesting infrared and ultraviolet light, part of the spectrum that creates heat. By reducing the amount of UV light entering the interior of your Katahdin Cedar Log Home, you’ll find your finishes, furniture and fabrics won’t fade or bleach out as they might under whole spectrum light.
Ubiquitous Energy began their research and development in 2012 using technology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology to utilize the selective absorption properties to create a solar window. The solar windows harvest approximately 66% of the solar energy harvested from traditional solar panels. Traditional solar panels operate at about 20% efficiency. “We have materials in R&D that have certified performance up to 10% efficiency thru a 3rd party test lab, ” Hardev noted. The efficiency of the laboratory sized cell was certified by third-party test laboratory, Newport Corporation.
While that may not seem like much, consider the amount of window area in an average Katahdin Cedar Log Home. According to Jim Lyons, V.P. of Design and Engineering, the average 2500 sq. ft. Katahdin Cedar Log Home design portions approximately 18% of the exterior shell to windows.