Engineers inspecting SolarWindow™ Spray-On Solar Panel

Have you ever stood in the center of a major city and looked up? Giant towers of glass loom up above you, stretching hundreds of stories high as far as the eye can see.

Imagine if all of that glass could be generating energy.

I know, it sounds too good to be true, but a US-based company is claiming that they are able to turn any window into a solar panel capable of generating electricity. SolarWindow Technologies, Inc. has developed a spray-on technology that can be applied to any glass — what a time to be alive!

How does this magic work? Let’s get into the scientific mumbo jumbo, shall we? First, the glass gets treated with a coating composed of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and SolarWindow’s own secret sauce of ingredients they are keeping on the down-low. To make the panels transparent, as opposed to standard dark glass solar panels, SolarWindows applies the coatings in liquid form at ambient pressures and then dries it at low temperatures.  Boom! A solar panel spray that is clear, custom, and able to be applied to any glass surface.

Media reports about this innovation have been somewhat skeptical — as though we are all collectively hedging our bets to avoid disappointment. If this technology does exist, and if it does what they say it does, it will completely revolutionize the world of clean energy. Right now, solar energy is getting more and more efficient each year, but the initial cost of installation means that users must typically expect to wait 5 to 7 years to recoup start-up costs. SolarWindows claims that their spray-on solar is 50 times more efficient than conventional panels, making renewable energy a far more attractive and accessible option.

Undeniably the biggest advantage of this development is the fact that it doesn’t just apply to new builds or renovations — the easily applied solar coating means that virtually every single building in the world with glass windows could potentially be retrofitted to become an energy-generating power plant.

Looking up at those towering skyscrapers just took on a whole different perspective. Kind of makes you dizzy, doesn’t it?

Imagery courtesy of SolarWindow Technologies, Inc.

By Madeleine Somerville

Madeleine Somerville is the author of All You Need Is Less: An Eco-Friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green Living and Stress-Free Simplicity. She is a writer, wannabe hippie and lover of soft cheeses. She lives in Edmonton, Canada, with her daughter. You can also find Madeleine at her blog, Sweet Madeleine.