The future of glass skyscrapers just got greener with transparent solar panels

Solar power has been around for a long time. And with the increasing construction of glass structures such as skyscrapers, it’s about time the technology caught up. And it finally has.

Glass structures are woefully inefficient and contribute to the massive carbon footprint produced by cities every day.

In fact, a new study shows that just 100 of the world’s 13,000 cities produce 20 percent of humanity’s carbon footprint alone.

Many cities such as London are trying to change this by looking to transform into National Park cities that are greener and more wildlife friendly.

Others, such as New York City, are banning skyscrapers from using inefficient glass materials and requiring existing structures to replace inefficient glass panels with greener glass materials.

Well, apparently they can do just that because transparent solar panels are being developed by assistant professor of Chemical Engineering and Material Science from Michigan State University, Richard Lunt.

According to Healthy Holistic Living:

The technology uses organic molecules that work through absorbing light wavelengths such as infrared and ultraviolet light. When placed on a window, the transparent solar concentrator not only creates solar energy, but it does so without blocking or disrupting the view.

The advancement of these transparent solar panels is comparable to the electricity-generation that’s promised by rooftop solar panels. The transparent panels can not only be used in countless architectural applications, but in the auto industry and even mobile electronics.

With so many glass structures in the United States and around the globe, just imagine one of these new transparent panels being installed on every single pane of glass. An enormous amount of power would be generated, and we wouldn’t have to initiative any new construction to do it. Just apply the tech to existing construction. That’s not to say that traditional solar paneling is not necessary, especially since a lot of places don’t have glass structures or skyscrapers. It’s just that this technology revolutionizes the field and provides a solution to a major problem.

“Highly transparent solar cells represent the wave of the future for new solar applications,” Lunt stated. “Solar technologies are only at about a third of their realistic overall potential.”

“Traditional solar applications have been actively researched for over five decades, yet we have only been working on these highly transparent solar cells for about five years,” he continued. “Ultimately, this technology offers a promising route to inexpensive, widespread solar adoption on small and large surfaces that were previously inaccessible.”

London could use the panels to make the city even greener while New York solves a problem it has been struggling to deal with for some time. New construction could use these panels and existing structures could be required to apply it as well. While replacing old glass surfaces would be massively expensive, applying a transparent solar panel to each one may be less so, thus providing building owners an option when considering how they comply with new regulations.

Fighting climate change is not just about planting new trees and protecting wildlife, it’s about how we live our lives and how our society generates and uses power. Technology is finally catching up to help us achieve our clean energy goals.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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