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Solar Window Is “Green” Game-changer

August 9, 2011
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“What we have today – this is what we hear from architects – is very unique,” Pythagoras Solar CEO Gonen Fink tells ISRAEL21c. “The high transparency makes for esthetically pleasing building designs.

“There are many companies today doing energy-efficient windows or energy generators using photovoltaics such as skylights, but this is mostly to show you can produce energy from the building’s envelope. This is the first time somebody has actually combined the advantages in one product.”

“The idea was to use innovative optics with solar cells to produce a new product that would allow solar energy to become part of the next generation of building design,” Fink explains. “The application that we very early saw as most attractive was using optics to produce benefits such as allowing light into the building, power generation and reducing the building’s power needs.”

Further, he notes, “The need to improve the energy efficiency of buildings has been in the news a lot recently. Many companies are trying to come up with solutions that would reduce energy consumption. We want daylight, but not the heat because of the air-conditioning costs involved as result.

“Until now, the only solution has been to block windows with curtains or blinds — and that means you need more artificial lighting. Our optical design allows multiple advantages, by using direct light to generate energy. This is done with something that doesn’t look like a solar panel, but a window. This makes the whole concept more attractive to architects.”

Having developed the product, the company carried out pilot projects last year in several commercial buildings in the US and Israel. “We took existing buildings, such as the Sears Tower in Chicago—a small part of it, just two windows to begin with—and showed that it works. Then we went to the next stage, which is commercial installation and expanding our manufacturing capacity. We are working with some of the largest glass companies in the world,” says Fink.

Pythagoras is based in Silicon Valley, and much of the production takes place in Los Angeles. The company’s R&D center is in Israel.

Posted on August 9, 2011

Source: (Excerpts of an article by Daniel Ben-Tal, Israel21c, August 8, 2011)

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