British ‘solar glass’ could generate power for entire buildings

February 15, 2013

A British firm has developed coloured ‘solar glass’ which could provide clean energy by just adding 10 per cent to a building’s cost.

Oxford Photovoltaics has been offered a £2 million investment from MTI Partners to develop its solar glass further and release it to the public commercially.

The glass can be dyed any colour to suit building designs, whilst they would only cost between £60 and £100 per square meter extra.

The glass cells feature a layer of transparent solar cells which are only three microns thick, allowing to convert 12 per cent of solar energy into low-carbon electricity. This energy can then be transferred to the national grid so it can be used by the building.

Different colours of the glass are more efficient in capturing the sun, with black being the best, and greens and reds following, with blues being less efficient.

Speaking to The Guardian, Kevin Arthur, the company's founder and CEO, said: “What we say here is rather than attach [solar] photovoltaics to the building, why not make the building the photovoltaics? If you decide to build a building out of glass, then you've already decided to pay for the glass. If you add this, you're adding a very small extra cost.”

The new investment from MTI Partners is set to pay for staff and equipment, as the company decides to relocate to the Begbroke Science Park near Oxford. Full-sized panels are expected to be trialled at the end of 2014, with A4-sized cells being ready by the end of this year.

This news come in conjunction with a team at the University of Cambridge and the University of Sheffield announcing earlier this week that they are developing a ‘solar spray paint’ which can be sprayed on surfaces of buildings. Both projects aim to reduce the cost of solar energy in the future.

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