08 July 2011

Pythagoras Solar Turns Windows Into Panels Of Energy

A start-up in Northern California is working on creating "solar windows" that could act as solar panels at the same time as blocking sunlight from entering office buildings to reduce their energy needs, according to a Sunday story in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The company Pythagoras Solar is based in San Mateo, California, and it won an award from the "GE ecomagination Challenge," award of $100,000 last week for its idea.

The company makes a "window laced with solar cells," that could generate power for office buildings and shield offices from sunlight, thus reducing air conditioning costs.

The GE award is a "validation of three things -- that (the window) is unique, that it's feasible and it could have a big impact," Gonen Fink, Pythagoras' CEO told the Chronicle.

The technology is a class of equipment that seeks to replace parts of buildings with solar panels to generate energy. Other possibilities include window awnings and roofing tiles.

Some of Pythagoras' windows are already installed on Chicago's Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower.)

CEO Fink wouldn't reveal his system's cost per watt to the Chronicle, but he says that "for the typical customer" the system will pay for itself in three to five years.

He's excited about the technology, he says, because it could change the way buildings are built.

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