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Coloured Solar Glass Developed

Oxford Photovoltaics Ltd is a British firm who have received £2 million in funding from MTI Partners who are investors in clean technology. Oxford Photovoltaics Ltd intend to use the money in connection with solar glass.

Glass Building
(image credit: idan586)

The firm has developed solar glass that is coloured and transparent and ultimately can be used for glass buildings. This will mean that a complete glass building will be able to generate more power rather than just generate power from solar panels on a roof.

The investment will assist in the firm taking a step closer to bringing this latest technology to the commercial market place. The glass can also be dyed just about any colour that the client wants which again makes it even more appealing.

Kevin Arthur who is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Oxford Photovoltaics Ltd believes that, for a company that has to construct a building using glass, that the extra cost of making it suitable to generate solar power is minimal. In fact he estimates that the cost of providing the solar cell treatment will only equate to an extra 10% of the price of the glass.

Apparently, the normal cost of the glass is in the region of £600 to £1,000 for every square metre so in adding solar cells to the glass will only add an extra £60 to £100 for every square metre.

The process involves the addition of solid-state, transparent solar cells in a layer that is no greater than three microns in thickness to ordinary glass. This will result in about 12% of the solar energy that is received being turned into electricity that can then either be used by the occupants of the building and/or sold back to the National Grid.

Although a variety of coloured dyes are available for the glass it is interesting that different colours are more or less efficient dependent on the colour chosen. For instance, blue is not so good, red is good, green is quite good and black is classed as very good.

The investment of £2 million is also to be used towards taking on staff and is also to be used to pay for equipment. Samples of the solar glass in A4 size will be available by the end of this year and full size panels are expected to be ready to be trialled by the end of next year. Although Oxford Photovoltaics Ltd will mainly focus on new builds it will also be interested in adding the solar power glass to existing structures.

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