ClearVue PV’s solar glass technology takes next step

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Perth-based building-integrated PV company reveals it can build its solar glass technology into independent units, removing need for specialised window frames.

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Perth-based building-integrated solar PV company ClearVue PV has announced this week a landmark step forward for the commercialisation of its technology, revealing it has developed the ability to build its technology into the glass unit itself, removing the need for specific frames that would have limited the viability of the technology.

Image Source: Clearvue PV

ClearVue has had a long history, dating all the way back to 1996. However, after self-proclaimed “early setbacks” the company shifted gears during 2010 and describes itself “at the vanguard of micro and nano-photonic photo voltaic technologies producing building integrated photo voltaic (BIPV) solutions.”

Or, in other words, the company aims to provide “highly energy efficient, clear glass that generates electricity.”

Or, in other words again, solar glass.

Earlier this year the company announced that it was gearing up to sell its product around the world, starting with a float on the Australian stock market.

A couple of months later, towards the end of May, the company successfully closed $A5 million as part of its initial public offering (IPO).

Less than a fortnight later, ClearVue signed an exclusive deal with eco-home builder Mirreco to supply its clear solar glass technology for use in the company’s industrial hemp-based “micro homes”.

Announced on Tuesday, ClearVue upped the ante on its rivals, announcing that it has developed a frame-independent Insulated Glass Unit (IGU) which can house its technology, and remove the need for a specialised frame.

Previously, ClearVue’s technology captured solar energy in PV cells built around the inside of a window frame, and then converted it into electricity.

Now, however, the company has managed to ditch the need for a specialised frame and can capture within solar cells built into the IGU structure itself – all of ClearVue’s technology can now be housed in the IGU windows rather than the frame.

The immediate benefits of this are striking when you consider the new opportunities. Instead of relying on a product that requires a specific and proprietary type of glass frame, ClearVue can now use industry standard glass frames produced by the majority of manufacturers.

“The move away from dependency upon any specific frame design to an industry standard IGU that can be supplied to innumerate framing companies and window fabricators will significantly increase ClearVue’s potential to reach a global market faster,” explained Victor Rosenberg, ClearVue’s executive chairman.

“This simple step has widened our scope for even greater licensing opportunities.”

Unsurprisingly, ClearVue has already placed an order with its contract manufacturer for 100 of its IGU units for placement into early trial locations, including for supply to Mirreco’s micro-homes.

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9 Comments
  1. Stephen 1 year ago

    Don’t get me wrong, I want these kind of things to succeed, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

    You take a regular solar panel, you make it more expensive per kilowatt by the extra cost of making it transparent, and then you put it at less optimal angles than the roof.

    • George Darroch 1 year ago

      You also get a window.

      For people with applications where a solar panel is not possible this would definitely be useful. In future you might also apply it to auto glass and use the windscreen to generate power.

      • Stephen 1 year ago

        But what kind of situations is a solar panel “not possible” but this is possible. Is it that different getting a solar window instead of hanging it right next to the window and saving money. The main problems people have with getting solar panels are that they’re renting and can’t make changes, they’re shaded or at a bad angle, they can’t afford it. Most of these are the same for glass if not worse.

        With the car at least it makes a little more sense, because such a high percentage of it is glass and you can easily saturate your available space. Having said that the economics of solar panels on cars are currently useless (not surprising given that you’re paying for a solar panel to store it mostly indoors). I take your point though that one day after solar panels are extremely cheap it might be viable on cars.

        • George Darroch 1 year ago

          What situations? Well, for example any place in which a person owns the windows but does not own or have access to the roof. I live in such a building. A place where it’s necessary to maximise the solar output, despite the added cost. A place where there are heritage restrictions and panels are not allowed. Or the owner might simply have funny ideas about what they like, and black panels on the roof don’t suit them.

          Just because you can’t think of a market doesn’t mean there isn’t one. The question is whether it’s large enough, and people will pay the premium for this product. I couldn’t answer that, but good on them for trying.

          Edit: this obviously only makes sense in north-facing unshaded windows. You wouldn’t do this everywhere.

    • Peter F 1 year ago

      Facades of multistory buildings, North facing windows on any building, particularly those without eves or verandahs

  2. wmh 1 year ago

    90 degrees is not bad for mid winter (June) in Sydney. Compared to the optimum of about 50 degrees, the loss is only about 11%. Mid winter is when systems are looking for all the output they can get but many people have northerly wall or fence (or window) space which could be used.

  3. Ian 1 year ago

    Look good for high rise apartments. Long term output depreciation/servicing may be an issue for that though.
    Ideally they could also be integrated into double glazed units and also accept low-E coatings as needed.

  4. solarguy 1 year ago

    More info on the technology is needed. This article provides bugger all!

  5. Phil Shield 1 year ago

    I’d like to know the thermal properties of the IGU, particularly U-value and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. There is no information about this on their website, but it is needed to assess the impact of this glass on the energy efficiency of a building.
    There is a lot of hype, but no real technical information. I hope it lives up to the hype.

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