A research project between the University of Free State and the University of Ghent in Belgium has given birth to a transparent solar panel.

It paves the way for building windows to generate solar power. A potential lifeline to municipalities and government departments who owe Eskom millions.

In the near future the glass building will be able to generate enough solar energy to power the entire structure. Not only a massive saving on the electricity bill but also clean power generation.

“What we did is we use luminescent materials like glow in the dark materials. But these materials absorb sunlight and release energy in the form of light; and then we are going to incorporate these lights into solar panels that are situated in the sides of the windows.

“This can be used in the building environment where the glass of buildings can be used to power the building also maybe in mobile technologies where the screen of a cell phone or tablet can be used to generate power to power the devise,” says Lucas Erusmus, who is a University of Free State PhD student.

It all starts with phosphor powder widely used in light bulbs and plasma screens.

“We are aiming to incorporate this material into the glass and have it form part of the glass. So there’s a lot of challenges regarding that you must match your reflective index of both your material and glass in order to minimise scattering to increase the efficiency of the devise,” adds Erasmus.

On a smaller scale, households will also benefit from this technology.