High-performance building products that perform multiple functions, deepen a building’s sustainability, and integrate seamlessly into the building’s design and construction will increasingly define the cutting edge for green building.
To that end, California-based Pythagoras Solar has developed photovoltaic glass units (PVGUs) that combine the energy efficiency of high-performance low-E insulated glass with the power-generating magic of PVs, resulting in glazing units that can be integrated into windows, skylights, and curtain walls.
The patent-pending system uses optics adhered to the outer surface of the 11/4-inch-thick glass to direct incoming sunlight onto PV cells integrated horizontally into the glazing units.
According to the company, the PVGUs are 12% efficient, and a 5-foot-by-5-foot unit will generate up to 600 volts DC. The optical coatings and PV cells also act to separate sunlight according to its angle of incidence, resulting in a solar heat gain coefficient ranging between 0.14 and 0.41.
The product is already installed in some U.S. commercial projects to be unveiled later this year. It will become increasingly available through existing glazing supply chains as the rollout continues, with residential products planned for late 2012.
“Based on the enthusiastic reception we have seen so far, the market seems to be ready and eager for this PVGU,” says Udi Paret, vice president of business development and marketing for Pythagoras. —Rick Schwolsky
Adapted, with permission, from the September-October issue of ECOHOME, a sister publication of REMODELING.
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