It’s becoming clear that the latest development in solar power innovation might be looking right back at you through the window.
Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Milano-Bicocca (in Italy) have transformed everyday windows into solar collectors using quantum dots fashioned from a light-emitting material. Dispersed in a clear plastic material forming a waveguide (as part of a luminescent solar concentrator), quantum dots are able to absorb the sunlight and convert it to a wavelength best suited for photovoltaic cells. The waveguide directs light toward solar cells that are installed in the window’s edges, allowing for electricity generation by the solar cells.
For a more in-depth explanation of how windows can be turned into electric generators, read the article Quantum dots may be key to turning windows into photovoltaics.
The potential for this type of technology reaches far beyond windows on buildings. Smartphones, electric vehicles and even agricultural greenhouses could become more energy independent with this type of solution in the future.
In the article Turning windows into solar panels, you’ll learn how this advancement could power more than 350 apartments if, for example, all the glazing on the One World Trade Center building was replaced with this type of technology.
Waiting for this innovation to reach your own windows could take a little time. But you can start using renewable energy now with an electricity plan from Green Mountain Energy. You’ll lessen the need for dirty, polluting generation sources by opting for energy generated from natural resources like the sun, wind and water. Be sure to do your part for that beautiful world you see right outside your window.