NREL Developing Solar Windows

Here’s a development that’s been a long time in the making: windows that, as they receive heat from the hot, undergo chemical/physical changes and become solar panels.

Glass that changes color when light is incident on it was been around for probably; oldsters recall the “photogray” eyeglasses of the early 1970s. More recent developments have made it electronic and switchable on demand, and scaled it up to window size, largely for the purpose of protecting secret operations from prying eyes.

Now, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have made windows from a thin film of perovskite – a cutting-edge solar material, stuffed between two panes of glass, which switches between several different colors, from transparent to yellow, orange, red, and brown, .

NREL has been researching perovskite for at least the last decade, and it’s good to see progress made.  I’m skeptical of the whole enterprise of windows-as-solar, however, because of the angles involved, the “balance of system” (infrastructure) costs, as well as the shadows that are so common in the setting of residential and commercial buildings.

I’m also not sure about changing color.  Is it of value to see see a yellow exterior world turn orange?

In any case, onward and upward.