Given solar energy is ubiquitous, it would be nice to turn all artificial surfaces exposed to sunlight into solar panels. This may not meet a major portion of the energy needs, but certainly this should help reduce CO2 emission.
This is where SolarWindow comes in.1 Their main product, branded as LiquidElectricity, was flexible see-through window coatings that harvest sunlight and artificial light to generate electricity, essentially turning windows into solar panels. Founded in 1998, their technology has gone through significant evolution. Recently they have announced that their windows can achieve 14.7% efficiency in turning solar energy into electricity.2 This is pretty good considering today’s state of the art solar panels in the market have an efficiency in the mid to upper 20s range.
Their products should benefit both businesses and consumers, especially businesses with tall and modern buildings that can be retrofitted with this solar capability. They estimate that a residential house fitted with their product could generate 11% of the electricity needs, while large business buildings up to 30%. The net result is reduced utility energy use leading to CO2 reduction.
SolarWindow is the leader in this technology segment and they have good products, but it has been tough going. The company is still not profitable. To ensure their success, they need to improve efficiency and reduce cost to be competitive with utility electricity, and at the same time improve transparency of their window products.