Exciting research taking place in America could lead to a revolution in solar power.

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are working on a window that not only provides light for a room – but also provides power.

They say they have found a new way to harness the sun’s energy with a solar concentrator.  Light is collected over the entire window and then gathered, or concentrated at the edges.

And it means that in future, we could simply use our house windows to create solar power – rather than cover our roofs with expensive solar cells (devices that turn sunlight into electricity).

Marc Baldo, who is leading the work claims the focused light increases the power from each solar cell by a factor of 40.

And he says their system will be so easy to manufacture, that it could be in use within three years –  significantly cutting the cost of solar electricity.

The MIT solar concentrator uses a mixture of dyes that are painted onto a pane of glass or plastic. The dyes absorb light across a range of wavelengths, similar to a concentrator invented more than 30 years ago which was abandoned because scientists could not get enough of the collected light to reach the edges of the concentrator.

With the way energy prices are rising at the moment, any technology that could reduce our dependence on gas and oil is more than welcome.

And the windows solution is brilliant stuff!  If you’d like to see just how it works, you can find out here




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