Ubiquitous Window - transparent solar window

Glass facades with transparent solar windows

US company makes small power plants out of conventional panes of glass

27 Februar, 2022

Climate change is becoming the all-important evaluation criterion for a large number of innovations. In 2021, the cost of solar energy has fallen so much that there are no longer any arguments for continuing to operate coal and nuclear power plants. The US start-up Ubiquitous Energy has developed a technology for generating energy from window glass.

Smart solar windows are indistinguishable from conventional ones

The damage caused by climate change has not only been real and, above all, quantifiable since the flood disaster in the Ahr valley. According to the Federal Government, the damage caused by the flood disaster in the affected areas of Germany is said to have reached 29.2 billion euros.

Anyone who is still asking about the costs of the transformation to regenerative energy technologies has not understood the seriousness of the situation. Especially since electricity from the sun, wind and water is already cheaper in many places than that produced with fossil fuels.

“In countries including China, India and Germany, it is now cheaper to construct a new, large-scale solar power plant than to continue operating an existing coal or gas-fired power plant.” (BloombergNEF)

This means nothing more and nothing less than the end of coal-fired power generation and the use of nuclear reactors. The quicker we can switch over in Germany, the better for our wallet.

For example, the authors of a University of Oxford study published in September 2021 note that “a slower transition (envisaging slower conversion rates than those currently prevailing) will be more expensive, and a nuclear-based transition will be significantly more expensive.”

Ubiquitous Energy - solar window

In view of these numbers, technologies that provide for an increase in the use of regenerative energies in areas that have not been of great importance to this, such as the generation of solar energy on cycle paths, footpaths or car roofs, become interesting.

With the technology of Ubiquitous Energy, there is an additional possibility to understand windows or glass facades as energy producers. Founded by a group of engineers and scientists from MIT and MSU.

Ubiquitous Energy has developed a coating technology for glass surfaces that can be used to generate electrical energy from panes of glass. According to company information, solar windows equipped with UE Power™-technology are indistinguishable from conventional ones.

This means that the construction industry now has another tool at its disposal to reduce the emissions caused by the operation of buildings. For residential buildings, the technology offers the realization of so-called “smart windows”, solar windows with integrated power supply, which can be seamlessly integrated into the smart home system.

Solar windows equipped with UE Power™ technology are around 30 percent more expensive than conventional ones. However, the additional expenditure will pay off in the medium to long term. Ubiquitous Energy estimates that if the 20 billion square meters of glass used each year were used to generate electricity, global emissions could be reduced by 10 percent.


image above: facade with solar windows at the company headquarters in Redwood City (source: Ubiquitous Energy)

bottom image: Coating converts invisible ultraviolet and infrared light into electricity (source: Ubiquitous Energy)