Imagine a building envelope with windows creating electricity from the sun light. It could be the future of the building envelopes with windows composed with photovoltaic cells inside the layers of glass. Nowadays, it is possible to create transparent photovoltaic windows. One such windows can produce to 250 Watts of electricity power.
This kind of windows is conceived with two layers of glass, an insulating layer and transparent photovoltaic cells. One advantage is that they are able to filter 100% of the undesired rays, infrared and ultraviolet radiations, by alloying the entrance of the desirable rays of the sunlight. The new transparent photovoltaic cells have the ability to transform sunlight into electricity at a relatively high-efficiency. This is how photovoltaic cells are turning windows into solar panels.
One challenge of that cells to be commercialized and commonly used deals with their longevity. Indeed, the life span of those cells has to be similar to the life span of windows to be viable. Windows would not be replaced for decades. That is why such cells need to have a quite long life span.
Concerning the cost of such photovoltaic cells, it is really close to the cost of traditional photovoltaic panels. Nevertheless, the price of the whole window remain expensive, almost the price of the highest technological window. It means that the amount of electricity produced should be sufficient in order to justify such an investment.