The Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE) has finally developed the stylish solar power glass after lengthy years of research. The system is constructed of rows of pyramid-shaped glass receptors, which will change their directions all the time to keep track of the sunlight. All the energy is stored in a small photovoltaic cell built in the center of each pyramid. The transparent design not only makes the system eye-pleasing and attractive, but means light could pass through the system more effectively for energy storage.
Integrated Concentrating (IC) Dynamic Solar Facade
The technical challenges of the IC Solar System are to produce a low-cost shading system for windows that:
1. uses as much of incoming direct normal irradiation as possible in the production of electricity
2. allows as much diffuse incident irradiation as possible to enter occupied spaces for day-lighting
3. requires little maintenance
4. captures, as thermal power, that which is not directly converted to electric power via the PV cell, thereby lowering building cooling loads
5. is aesthetically attractive for architectural markets
HOW IT WORKS: The key breakthrough is the miniaturized concentrator solar cell, which uses a lens with concentric grooves to focus collected light. Even though it is only the size of a postage stamp -- compared to the usual solar collector area that spans 4 x 4 feet -- the cell is much more efficient in collecting and reusing solar energy. The lens focuses incoming sunlight onto the solar cell. Microchannels at the base of the module transfer energy in the form of heat and light to wires contained inside. Each vertical stack of lenses rolls and tilts like a track blind, keeping the surface of the lenses faced to incoming sunlight as the sun changes position in the sky throughout the day. Incorporating these new cells into arrays could make solar energy an option that is competitive with other energy sources, reducing our dependency on fossil fuels.