Solar glass or photovoltaic glazing is a type of solar technology which is gaining momentum with both manufacturers and homeowners. In addition (or instead of) installing solar panels on the roof of their home, homeowners can install solar glass in various settings in the home and garden to generate renewable and free electricity using the sun’s natural energy.
Solar glass is similar to transparent solar panels as they it looks a lot like glass panes. The glass has a thin film of solar PV technology over it which can generate electricity from the sun. It is sometimes referred to as building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) although this term can also be applied to roof-integrated panels or solar roof tiles. These solar technologies are intended to integrate more seamlessly with the home’s design which can be more aesthetically pleasing than solar panels which are an added extra on top of roof tiles.
How can solar glass be used in the home?
While solar glass is currently not transparent enough to be used as window panes (although manufacturers are developing the technology to make this possible), solar glass panels can be installed in a variety of ways in the home and garden to generate free renewable electricity for your appliances. Solar glass panels can be fitted in skylights, as the roof or walls of a greenhouse or in a conservatory or even as a facade or canopy in a home’s structure.
The early examples of solar glass panels were very thick and heavy and were used in commercial structures such as petrol stations and a canopy for London’s Barbican Centre. They have also been used in the construction of bus station in London’s Canary Wharf where the solar electricity is used to power signage, lighting and interactive displays with surplus energy feeding into the grid.
Advantages of Solar Glass
Solar glass has a thin film of photovoltaic technology which enables it to generate electricity from the sun’s energy and has been designed for building integration. This is why it offers several performance advantages which can be appealing for homeowners.
The thin solar cells in the film of solar glass are able to operate efficiently even when not positioned at the ideal angle, i.e. in direct sunlight. This means there are plenty of installation options including both vertical and horizontal positioning.
Efficient even in low light
Because the solar cells are so thin they are able to generate electricity with as little as 10% sunlight which means they can generate at high levels throughout the year and are not as affected by the changing seasons or shading.
High heat tolerance
As solar glass panels are less affected by high temperatures than solar panels they will work efficiently over a wider temperature range they can produce energy more consistently. This also means they do not need ventilation to achieve maximum efficiency.
Comparable installation costs
When compared to traditional building materials the cost of installing solar glass is very similar. In addition, because solar glass can perform multiple functions such as providing structure, generating electricity and are arguably more visually appealing, this can make it a more cost-effective choice.
Very strong and durable
Solar glass panels are designed to be integrated into the structure of a building and as such as very rigid and tough making them ideal for a range of applications.
How much does solar glass cost?
The cost of solar glass will vary depending on which installer you choose, but one of the leading manufacturers is Polysolar UK. Polysolar offer an orange-tinted panel which costs around £175 per square metre and a new grey-tinted version which is more efficienct and is around £250 per square metre. The latest grey-tinted design of solar glass panels by Polysolar reaches efficiency levels between 12-15%, which is more efficient than many standard solar panels on the market.
Interested in solar glass for your home?
Installing solar glass in either your home or garden can help to generate a significant amount of free and renewable energy for your home. This can reduce how much electricity you need to buy from a supplier which could lower your energy bills and reduce your impact on the environment in terms of carbon emissions.
If you’d like to get solar quotes tailored to your home and energy needs you can visit Solar Guide. By placing a quick enquiry you can receive up to 3 free quotes for solar installation from MCS accredited companies near you in a matter of hours. There’s no obligation to use any of the quotes, but you could save a significant amount of money by comparing prices.