New, all-clear solar panel cells could be integrated into home or car windows for improved energy efficiency.

While the sunny summer weather is still lingering here in Idaho and Utah, we know all too well that chillier days are not far off. At this point, most homeowners know that there are tons of ways to save on heating and cooling costs by sealing their windows and doors, unplugging electronics from outlets when they aren't in use and installing programmable thermostats to regulate your household temperatures when you aren't home.

But a new breakthrough in the energy efficiency world could help you lower utility costs even further in the very near future.

Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) have developed new solar cells that are entirely clear. These solar concentrators work by focusing sunlight on the heat engine within the panel, which is what produces usable electricity for commercial and residential buildings. The photovoltaic solar cells that exist on the edge of the panel attract specific types of wavelengths of sunlight, but because they are just at the edge of the unit, the panel looks completely clear to the human eye.

According to Richard Lunt, who leads the MSU research team, "It can be used on tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader. Ultimately we want to make solar harvesting surfaces that you do not even know are there."

At Valley Glass, we love hearing about all the ways that glass can be used to create more energy-efficient homes. While this solar technology is still in the development phases, the idea that this invention could be used on exterior glass doors or windows, or even as auto glass window replacement in the near future, is an exciting prospect for better integrating energy efficiency into our everyday lives.

In the meantime, our replacement glass options can help maintain a comfortable temperature in your home, as well as keep utility costs down. Contact us today to learn how we can help!