In just a few short years, our buildings and skyscrapers could be powered by solar-power windows, and a local Michigan State professor is leading the charge. Richard Lunt, a professor of chemical engineering and material science, is working with a team to develop clear glass solar panels that can convert energy from the sun into energy that can be used to power a building.
The solar panels we have now are not translucent, and they must be placed on the rooftops of buildings so they can be exposed to the sun. But Professor Lunt realized that the vertical surface area of a building, especially a tall skyscraper, is much larger than the horizontal surface area of its rooftop. He determined that if he could turn these larger vertical areas into solar harvesting surfaces, it could really make a huge impact.
Professor Lunt and his team have already created transparent glass solar panels that are successfully gathering light and converting it into electricity. When installed on a building, you won’t be able to notice any difference between a regular window and these solar windows. These clean energy producing windows can be retrofitted onto existing buildings, and they don’t have to be installed when a building is being constructed. This is some very exciting technology that is right around the corner!