Ubiquitous Energy Demonstrates First Large-Area Coating of Transparent Solar Technology
Ubiquitous Energy, a technology company developing transparent solar technology for architectural glass, successfully demonstrated 1.5-meter-wide glass coated uniformly with the company’s UE Power transparent solar materials. This critical milestone shows the ability to scale UE Power to large sizes uniformly, which is critical in achieving high performing solar devices while maintaining the aesthetics and function of traditional low-emissivity window glass.
This milestone paves the way for the company’s upcoming high volume manufacturing line that will produce 1.5 by 3.0 meter floor-to-ceiling, transparent solar windows.
Achieving Success After Years of Development
Ubiquitous Energy has achieved this milestone through years of development with a trusted provider of manufacturing equipment to the global architectural glass and photovoltaics industries. UE Power is the only transparent solar glass coating technology that is manufactured using vacuum physical vapor deposition, the same equipment used by global manufacturers to coat nearly all architectural glass today totaling billions of square feet annually.
UE Power organic semiconductor materials were deposited in a full-size PVD prototype coater, showing near-perfect uniformity within 1-2 percent tolerance over 1.5 meter wide glass for coatings that are tens of nanometers thick.
Moving from pilot into full-scale manufacturing
“Achieving this milestone prepares us well as we move our transparent solar technology from the pilot phase into full-scale manufacturing,” says Ubiquitous Energy co-founder and CTO Miles Barr. “Architectural glass isn’t actually flat; it’s slightly wavy. For this reason, achieving highly uniform, defect-free thin film electronics like transparent solar over large glass sheets has historically been difficult by other methods like solution printing.
Well-established PVD coating technology gives us tight control over thickness and optical appearance of our transparent solar organic semiconductor materials and allows us to piggyback on the equipment and process controls that has been enjoyed by the architectural glass industry for decades.”
The prototype coater will now be replicated for the deposition of transparent solar materials in the company’s first high volume U.S. manufacturing line that is expected to be operational in 2024. Large scale deployment of the company’s transparent solar technology can have a positive impact in addressing climate change, say officials, by increasing the amount of renewable energy generation that is available by integrating seamlessly into everyday surfaces without impacting aesthetics. Each 1.5 x 3.0 meter piece of UE Power glass could generate up to 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity every day.