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SolarWindow Sets Manufacturing Deal for Solar Coating.

SolarWindow Technologies has secured a manufacturing agreement for the coating of its organic photovoltaic solar generation liquid on glass windows that will produce electricity on all four sides of commercial buildings.

This first regional production agreement is with Triview Glass Industries, based in Los Angeles, California. Triview, which has 12 production lines, is specialized in tempered, laminated, and insulated glass products.

Columbia, Maryland-based SolarWindow will seek to raise capital over the next six months for equipment and working capital at the Triview location.

Solar Window, which is publicly traded, does not indicate exactly what materials it uses in its coating, nor how much electricity its coating will produce. The company also relies on its own projections to calculate economic feasibility. Part of the formula the company uses to calculate the relative performance of its product is the large area of glass on a building, which it compares with a small rooftop footprint for economic viability. The company did not respond to a request for further clarification.

Among earlier SolarWindow product tests, the liquid coatings were applied to Corning Willow Glass and "laminated under conditions that simulate the high pressure and temperatures of the manufacturing processes used by commercial glass and window producers," the company said. The Corning experiment resulted in a bendable glass veneer, as thin as a business card, that generates electricity, it said.

SolarWindow claims that its products could reduce electricity demand by 30-50 percent in tall buildings and provide a one-year financial payback. According to an "independentlyvalidated engineering modeling," that is not identified. The coatings convert passive windows and other materials into electricity generators under natural, artificial, low, shaded, and reflected light conditions.

The company has made 14 patent filings for its technology, under development since 2009. The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has helped in the R&D process. NREL's National Center for Photovoltaics has research capabilities in organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells, transparent conducting oxides, combinatorial methods, molecular simulation methods, and atmospheric processing, the lab description says.

NREL said that OPV is a "rapidly emerging PV technology with improving cell efficiency--currently about 13.2 percent, encouraging initial lifetime--greater than 5,000 hours unencapsulated, and potential for roll-to-roll manufacturing processes."

In April NREL reported progress on a different solar coating, involving a perovskite ink with a longer processing window that it suggests would allow for the scalable production of perovskite thin films for high-efficiency solar cells. The perovskite solution can be applied using either spin-coating or blade-coating methods, the laboratory reported.

The potential market for the commercial application of solar windows is massive. The company cites government statistics indicating that commercial buildings consume 40 percent of all the electricity generated in the United States, at a cost of over $140 billion. Market analyst IDTechEx forecasted that the OPC market will rise from a few million dollars today to $630 million by 2022.

The building-integrated PV market may find OPV especially attractive because of the availability of absorbers in several different colors. Work also is underway at NREL on glass that darkens quickly as sunlight increases. CW
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Author:Thurston, Charles W.
Publication:Coatings World
Date:Oct 1, 2017
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