New Energy Technologies and National Renewable Energy Laboratory Develop ‘Invisible Wires’ for Transporting Electricity on SolarWindow

March 15, 2012

New Energy Technologies, Inc., a developer of innovative technologies for generating sustainable electricity, announces that scientists collaboratively developing New Energy’s SolarWindow technology – capable of generating electricity on see-through glass – have successfully collected and transported electricity using a virtually ‘invisible’ conductive wiring system developed for SolarWindow. The ability to transport electricity on glass windows while remaining transparent is especially important to the eventual deployment of an aesthetically pleasing commercial product.

Currently under ongoing development, the conductive system’s ultra-fine grid-like pattern is overlaid on SolarWindow and is then rendered virtually invisible when viewing objects through the glass. Researchers anticipate that a fully functional system could help transport the electricity generated on glass surfaces, improving power, efficiency, and overall performance of the company’s SolarWindow.

Today’s announcement follows last month’s announcement that the company and NREL scientists had collaboratively developed New Energy’s SolarWindow technology into the largest-area organic photovoltaic (OPV) module produced at NREL.

NREL and New Energy have jointly worked through a cooperative research and development agreement to advance the Company’s SolarWindow technology for generating electricity.

“It’s very exciting that we’ve not only achieved an important milestone with respect to the size of our SolarWindow, but we are now able to confidently tackle two of the most important factors to eventual commercialization – the structure and transparency of the wiring system which transports the electricity generated on see-through glass, and overall performance,” said John Conklin, New Energy president and CEO.

The prospect of generating electricity on SolarWindow is made possible when researchers creatively layer and arrange unique, ultra-small see-through solar cells on to glass. Each of these cells are arranged in a network and interconnected by way of the ‘invisible’ grid-like wiring system, announced today.

The ‘invisible’ wiring system is especially important to the ongoing development of SolarWindow, most notably allowing for more efficient collection and transport of electrons, both important for improving circuit current and overall efficiency. The system helps mitigate electrical ‘road-blocks,’ which restrict the flow of electrons with regions of high resistance, by creating a kind of low-resistance ‘highway’ for electron transport; without the benefit of a conductive grid system, resistive losses can significantly reduce power production.

At the demonstration event, scientists powered lights on a scale-model house by exposing New Energy’s see-through SolarWindow to artificial light from fluorescent lamps, mimicking lighting typically installed inside offices. In artificial light, SolarWindow technology outperforms today’s commercial solar and thin-films by as much as 10-fold under low-intensity irradiance.