A brand new technology created by Build Solar, a University of Exeter spin-out could see buildings using innovative glass blocks instead of the ‘standard’ solar panels.
The blocks have been called Solar Squared and they contain intelligent optics that focuses incoming sunlight onto solar cells, allowing more electricity to be produced. The generated electricity can then be used to power the building, charge electric vehicles or just simply be saved for a later date.
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Founder of Build Solar, Dr Hasan Baig, said: “We are aiming to build integrated, affordable, efficient and attractive solar technologies, which have the smallest impact on the local landscape. It’s an exciting venture and one that should capture the imagination of the construction industry, when looking to develop new office blocks and public buildings or infrastructure projects such as train stations and carparks.”
Currently, buildings consume around 40% of electricity produced around the world. The block can be fitted into new buildings or installed into older buildings. It is hoped that this new technology can accelerate the widespread introduction of net-zero energy buildings through Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV). The technology has been compared to the Solar Tile, created by Tesla.
Dr Baig said: “BIPV is a growing industry with a 16% annual growth rate. Setting up a company, which can cater to this growing market shall prove beneficial for the UK economy in the long term.” The Build Solar team have stated their product delivers better thermal insulation than glass blocks.
Currently, the technology is at the prototype stage, pending patent. The company is fine-tuning the technology before it is properly tested.
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