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Last updated: 2 May 2024

What are Solar Windows?

Solar windows make it possible for any building to convert solar energy into free renewable electricity. The solar glass works in the same way as solar panels to convert solar energy into usable electricity. However, they also allow light to pass through to the otherside just like a normal window.

What are solar windows?

Solar windows are effectively windows with built-in solar panels. They resemble conventional windows but feature photovoltaic glazing which converts sunlight into renewable electricity.

For windows to become solar windows, they're fitted with a photovoltaic glazing that contains solar cells to capture solar energy. This solar energy is then converted into electricity that can power the electrical appliances in the property.

Solar glass windows are a form of Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV). BIPV technology is integrated within the building rather than installed onto the building. This means that homeowners looking to generate their own renewable energy can do so without the need for solar panels.

How do solar windows work?

Solar glass windows contain solar cells that convert the sunlight into usable energy. This means that during daylight hours, light passing through the windows can provide a home with free renewable electricity. Any excess energy will be delivered to the National Grid or stored in a solar battery, if you have one, for use at a later time.

Solar glass manufacturers

The leading manufacturers of solar glass are Onyx Solar and Polysolar UK.

Onyx Solar

Onyx Solar is a world-leading manufacturer of solar glass suitable for installation in facades, curtain walls, atriums, canopies and terrace floors. Their solar glass delivers the same level of thermal and sound insulation as traditional glass windows but with the additional benefit of being able to generate electricity. A choice of aesthetics is another great benefit of Onyx Solar products as the shape, colour, size, thickness and transparency level can all be designed to suit your property.

Polysolar UK

Polysolar understands the importance of aesthetics and natural light. So they've developed glass windows that can be designed to suit any number of building types from domestic to commercial. Their glass features a thin photovoltaic film that's entirely transparent and allows natural light to make its way through while also being able to efficiently generate electricity.

How efficient are solar windows?

Polysolar have developed grey-tinted solar glass windows that boast efficiency levels of between 12% and 15%. While this might sound relatively low, it's a higher efficiency rating than many solar panels currently available in the UK.

What are the benefits of solar windows?

Generating electricity using free renewable solar energy is an efficient way to power your home. However, solar panels aren't practical for all property types. Solar windows allow more people to generate their own free renewable electricity.

A free source of electricity that will help to lower your energy bills isn't the only benefit of solar windows.

Help to reduce indoor temperatures

During the summer, it can get really hot in certain properties. And much of this heat is caused by sunlight making its way through the windows. A solar window

Block ultraviolet radiation

UV rays from the sun can cause damage to furniture, such as fading. Solar windows help to prevent as much ultraviolet radiation making its way into the property, helping your furniture to look nicer for longer.

Increased privacy

Solar windows have a tint which makes it harder to see through them into the property. And you'll still be able to see as clearly as ever when looking out of the window from the inside.

Reduced glare

Glare can be frustrating, particularly if it's on the TV. Thanks to solar windows, glare can be reduced to a much lower level.

Lower installation costs compared to solar panels

A window replacement is much more straightforward than having solar panels installed on your roof. By opting for solar glass windows, you will be saving time and potentially an awful lot of money on the installation costs. However, it's unlikely that solar windows will be able to cover as much area as a

Earn payments through the Smart Export Guarantee

Homeowners generating their own renewable electricity can earn payments as part of the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). Energy suppliers with more than 150,000 customers are legally obliged to pay customers who are generating their own electricity using renewable technology – including solar PV. Energy suppliers with fewer than 150,000 can also join the scheme but are under no legal obligation to do so.

How much do solar windows cost?

Solar glass window technology is an emerging technology so potential costs are still unclear. Estimated prices sit at around £175 to £250 per square metre of solar glass.

Solar panel blinds

Solar technology is developing at a rapid pace. And in addition to solar glass, the development of solar panel blinds is also well underway.

Solar panel blinds are effectively solar panels made to resemble traditional roller blinds. They do the same job as normal blinds – blocking outdoor light from making its way in – but when doing so can convert solar energy into usable electricity. Plus, to optimise efficiency and output, the panels will automatically follow the direction of the sun throughout the day.

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