NEXT Energy Technologies Inc., makers of a proprietary transparent photovoltaic coating that transforms commercial windows into energy-producing solar panels, has been awarded a $3 million grant by the California Energy Commission to scale-up and demonstrate its glass-coating technology process for fabrication of solar power-generating windows.
The project, Rapid Innovation Development of Energy Generating Windows for Zero-and Negative-Carbon Emission Buildings, was awarded to NEXT after the demonstration of directly coating its existing proprietary organic semiconducting technology onto large sheets of heat-treated glass. The method will allow for a more seamless application into the window manufacturing process that leads to much higher margins with low capital cost equipment.
NEXT will use these funds to produce pilot-sized energy-generating windows and demonstrate its production processes using all pilot production manufacturing methods over the next several months.
“This project will allow us to demonstrate our manufacturing method of printing our PV film directly onto large sheets of heat-treated window glass,” says Corey Hoven, founder and CTO at NEXT. “Our solution enables reduced distortions in the glass during the coating process and allows the commercial glass to be suitable for precision coatings. Our model is designed to serve window manufacturers at the point of fabrication, allowing them to increase the value of their products with absolutely minimal disruption. Demonstrating our coating process is key to this seamless integration approach.”
NEXT’s photovoltaic coatings are applied to commercial windows during the window fabrication process, integrating with existing manufacturers without disrupting established workflows and supply chains.
Installed in a typical commercial high-rise office building, the first generation of NEXT windows will offset as much as 10-20% of its power needs, and over a 30-year timeframe, such a building would produce about 20 million kWh of clean power. In the coming years, NEXT windows will be commercially available for window sizes up to 5 ft. x 10 ft (1.5 x 3 meters).