Transparent photovoltaic coating company NEXT Energy Technologies received a $3 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to help it scale and demonstrate its glass coating technology that turns commercial building windows into solar energy producers.
The grant was awarded after the company demonstrated its process for coating organic semiconducting material onto large sheets of heat-treated glass. The company said its method will allow for a smoother application into the window manufacturing process, leading to higher margins and low capital cost of equipment.
Funding will be used to produce pilot-sized photovoltaic windows and to perform a demonstration of the entire production process over the next several months, said NEXT.
The photovoltaic coatings are applied during the window fabrication process, integrating with established manufacturers without disrupting workflows and supply chains. NEXT Energy said its approach removes costs typically associated with packaging and installation of solar.
NEXT said a typical commercial high-rise office building installed with its first-generation windows could offset as much as 10-20% of the building’s power needs. Over a 30-year period, the building could produce 20 million kWh of clean energy, saving an annual average of $170,000 on utility bills, the company said.
The funding win follows a recent pilot of NEXT’s proof-of-concept window wall, a 5 ft. x 10 ft. display in Paris.
Earlier in August, the CEC adopted the 2022 Building Energy Efficiency Standards that includes plans to expand solar PV systems and battery storage standards for all California buildings. The Energy Code will be submitted to the California Building Standards Commission and if approved, will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
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