Dark dreary bus shelters could soon be a thing of the past after London’s first transparent solar bus shelter was switched on at the Canary Wharf business district on Friday. The shelter is reported capable of producing enough electricity for a standard London home for a year and will be used to power signage and other transport infrastructure around the Canary Wharf estate.
London is no stranger to solar-powered bus shelters, having installed solar-powered E-ink displays last year. Transparent solar panels are also something we’ve seen before, but early prototypes only offered around 1 percent conversion efficiency. UK solar technology company Polysolar has developed a new solar-photovoltaic technology with a whopping 6-12 percent conversion efficiency, dependent on the film’s level of transparency. This new design allows for a transparent shelter that operates in low and ambient light.
A thin solar-paneling film is laminated onto glass, and small quantities of powdered silicon are used to create a conductive surface. This creates a transparent solar surface that processes light from both sides of the glass and at non-optimal angles. The material is priced at £250 (US$350) per square meter, Polysolar states its cost will be “similar to conventional building materials.”
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