SolarWindow Technologies recently stated the successful completion of significant freeze/thaw performance testing essential for the commercialization of its transparent electricity-generating coatings that could convert ordinary passive glass into electricity-generating windows.
These transparent, electricity-generating coatings have the capacity to turn new and existing tall buildings into ‘clean power generators.’ When applied to a 50-story building, for instance, SolarWindow™ could decrease electricity costs by up to 50 % annually and realize a one-year financial payback, according to autonomously-validated modeling.
Since commercial buildings use up nearly 40% of all the electricity produced in the US, electricity-generating windows that decrease electricity costs could be attractive for building owners, while concurrently providing environmental benefits and minimizing carbon dioxide emissions.
In order to establish the ability of the electricity-generating coatings to endure real-world environmental conditions, the company, along with engineers and scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), subjected SolarWindow™ modules to cycles of high temperatures followed by very low temperatures to mimic natural environmental conditions.
During this test, SolarWindow™ modules underwent over 200 freeze/thaw cycles, which yielded promising performance results of the edge sealing processes and marginal impact on the device electrical performance. SolarWindow™ modules are being engineered for durability using a range of materials and processes, including encapsulation and edge seals, to protect the layers that make up the electricity-generating coating.
This particular test is very important to establish the thermal and mechanical stability of SolarWindow™ coatings. As a part of windows of the future, such coatings will naturally be exposed to temperature extremes and cycles that cause mechanical stresses, which can eventually lead to failure. By appropriately engineering our layer lamination and edge sealing processes, we can minimize such stresses and ensure long operational lifetimes, regardless of the outdoor environment the windows are exposed to.
Dr. Scott Hammond, Principal Scientist of SolarWindow.
The International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) stipulates PV performance as a set of specific test sequences, requirements, and conditions for the design qualification of a PV module. The company will aim to meet the appropriate IEC PV module performance standards when SolarWindow™ products are commercially manufactured.
Passing the freeze/thaw temperature cycle testing is another important step towards commercializing SolarWindow™ coatings. Successful completion of this test puts SolarWindow™ modules one step closer to meeting performance PV test standards required by IEC.
John Conklin, President and CEO of SolarWindow
SolarWindow™ products are being developed in partnership with NREL under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). CRADA’s main development goal is the commercialization of SolarWindow™ products.
It is important to verify applicable PV and window performance standards, and confirm that our test results meet the standards. The success of the freeze/thaw temperature cycle testing, at this stage, is a positive indication of progress towards commercialization.