What if any surface could harvest solar energy from the sun? Ubiquitous Energy, a solar technology company founded by MIT(opens in a new tab) scientists, created a transparent photovoltaic glass coating called EU power(opens in a new tab) which, according to its creators, could turn any surface into a tiny solar panel. The company, however, is prioritizing the use of UE Power on windows in an attempt to help buildings reduce their colossal climate footprint.(opens in a new tab)
While standard solar panels absorb the entire light spectrum, UE Power only absorbs UV and near infrared light. This makes photovoltaic glass less efficient than standard solar panels, but the company says UE Power’s versatility could lead to wider deployment, as the cladding could potentially be installed on most buildings without compromising energy. aesthetic.
Aesthetic concerns are particularly important in cities heritage conservation laws(opens in a new tab) who are struggling to find a balance between cultural preservation and the urgency of an energy transition. Ubiquitous Energy is not the only company considering this issue; Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel and her studio use the power of design to integrate solar energy into everyday environments.
Mashable reported on UE Power in 2020. Since then, the technology has been installed in countries including the United States, Canada and Japan, and the company has announced the opening of its first plant in 2024.