As Britain swelters in what some predict will be the driest and warmest summer since 1976, Cambridge firm Polysolar is manufacturing windows that use the sunshine to generate electricity.
The windows capture solar energy in the same way as solar panels, but they are transparent. The technology could put an end to solar panels on roofs and could eventually replace fossil fuels entirely.
When the windows, which are assembled in Dagenham, are mass produced, the cost will only be 10% higher than conventional glass windows – potentially saving business and domestic users a fortune in energy costs.
Polysolar has developed windows and ‘solar door canopies’ that power security lights, carports, bus shelters and greenhouses. The firm is also looking at opportunities in the car market.
UK’s first solar bus shelter
A typical Polysolar window can produce enough power per month to meet half a day’s domestic needs. London’s Shard, which has enough glass to surface eight football fields, would generate power to meet the annual energy needs of 1,000 houses.
Polysolar windows have been exported worldwide. Installations to date include the UK’s first solar powered glass bus shelter at Canary Wharf (main image), petrol station canopies for Sainsbury’s, building facades and roofing for Network Rail, as well as energy-generating domestic carports, conservatories, and greenhouses.
One domestic trial featured a transparent glass roof to a garage and workshop that met the complete power needs of the owner’s electric car and home.
The market opportunity, according to independent analysis, could be $26bn by 2022.
A clear business opportunity
Hamish Watson, founder of Polysolar, said, ‘It may seem an irony, but Britain, famous for its fifty shades of grey clouds, may become a world leader in the solar energy business.’