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Israeli Firm Says 'No Pane, No Gain,' with World's First Solar-Powered Window

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July 14, 2011

Israeli Firm Says 'No Pane, No Gain,' with World's First Solar-Powered Window

By Cheryl Kaften
TMCnet Contributor


An Israeli startup company is marketing the world’s first solar-powered window—a double-glass pane embedded with PV cells that deliver energy efficiency, high-power density, and transparency.

Pythagoras Solar, a provider of photovoltaic glass unit (PVGU) technology based in Jerusalem, came to public attention in late June, when the company was selected as a winner of  the GE ecomagination Challenge, which recognizes the most promising building energy innovations. Winners were chosen from among nearly 5,000 entrants, based on originality, feasibility, and potential impact of their entries.

Stamford, Connecticut-based General Electric commented, “Pythagoras Solar’s window technology, an innovation for the real world, revolutionizes the design and construction of buildings, and answers market demand for aesthetically appealing architectural solutions that offer sustainability benefits and fast return on investment. With commercial installations underway, a growing project pipeline, and this prestigious award, Pythagoras Solar is well-positioned for success in the global marketplace.”

According to Pythagoras, when the windows are installed, they:

1.       Produce enough power to enable buildings to generate their own electricity.

2.       Shade buildings like any blind, while still remaining transparent. 

3.       Reduce air conditioning usage and makes building more energy-efficient.

Gonen Fink, co-founder and CEO of Pythagoras Solar explained, “We actually combine triple value….We generate solar power, but at the same time we also shade the building and improve the energy efficiency of the building— and all this in a transparent window that allows people to view the outside of the building and to get a lot of daylight into the building… further eliminating the need for artificial lighting."

Itay Baruchi, co-founder and CTO, said the goal is to revolutionize the energy market."I think we were looking for a simple solution which will transform the way … solar energy is generated today. And this is how we got to this type of very simple optics, very simple manufacturing technology - not transforming the whole way that the solar industry is manufacturing but upgrading it to a new type of solution in which Pythagoras Solar currently targets mainly architects and commercial building owners. The windows cost more than conventional panes—about $100 U.S. dollars per square foot.”  

Fink notes that the return on investment is three years to five years, whereas solar panels take from seven years  to 10 years to deliver a return.

Pythagoras Solar will announce its first commercial installation in the coming weeks, as the company moves into mass production. For more information, visit the company website.

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Cheryl Kaften is an accomplished communicator who has written for consumer and corporate audiences. She has worked extensively for MasterCard (News - Alert) Worldwide, Philip Morris USA (Altria), and KPMG, and has consulted for Estee Lauder and the Philadelphia Inquirer Newspapers. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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