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Smart Windows Darken and Become Solar Cells When Heated

Researcher Lance Wheeler holds samples of the team's new thermochromic photovoltaic windows, which can switch colors in response to heat and generate electricity from sunlightDennis Schroeder, NREL

The windows allow light to enter the home, but in the summer months the light also enters unwanted heat. Therefore, researchers have created windows that automatically change color when heated in sunlight to keep temperatures low in buildings. In addition, these windows are solar panels.

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Color-changing glass has been around for a long time, but is most commonly used for glasses. Once the efficiency of translucent and translucent solar cells has increased, they can be placed on windows. In a new study, scientists from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the United States combined the two technologies in one window.

A technology called “thermochromic photovoltaic” can change color when heated in sunlight to block glare and reduce the need for cooling, while collecting energy from that light because it also functions as a solar panel. The windows are made of a thin layer of perovite, a material from which solar cells are made. The Perovite layer is located between two glasses.

The windows reduce the temperature in just seven seconds when the glass reaches a temperature between 35 and 46 degrees Celsius. Researchers expect to make a prototype of the window with this technology next year.

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