A research team from the University of Exeter has unveiled a large square building brick – Solar Squared, which is totally made of glass and acts as a conventional solar PV module.
The Solar Squared contain optical elements which reflect the sun’s rays on to a smaller embedded cell (just like holding a magnifying glass under sunlight) giving it even more efficiency.
The blocks, according to the team, are both scalable and stackable, meaning they are practical and have real world market potentials.
Further owing to the fact that these bricks are made of glass and can let in natural light, they possess aesthetic appeal and provide thermal insulation, a feature orthodox solar PV module do not truly possess.
A member of the research team, Dr. Hasan Baig, clarified that the team, “wanted to overcome these limitations by introducing technologies that become a part of the building’s envelope.”
Baig, also explained: “We now have the capability to build integrated, affordable, efficient, and attractive solar technologies as part of the building’s architecture, in places where energy demand is highest, whilst having minimal impact on the landscape and on quality of life.”
He noted that would mean, “Essentially creating a house which will not merely be an appendage of a self powering Solar Home System (SHS) but a power generating unit itself.”