With the emergence of solar farms such as the Panda Power Plant in China, new methods of harvesting power are also manifesting. Tesla has engineered the solar roof, but the University of Exeter is not stopping there. We may now have the option to replace exterior walls with solar blocks made of glass.
Known as Solar Squared, the transparent blocks contain multiple optical elements that each focus incoming sunlight onto an individual solar cell. All of the cells within each block are linked together, and the blocks themselves can in turn be wired to one another, ultimately feeding into the building’s electrical grid or a battery.
Users can choose to have the block tinted to avoid overheating. They also provide quality thermal insulation, much better than that of a traditional glass block.
Build Solar is still conducting preliminary commercial testing. If successful, Solar Squared could be seeing the light of day (pun completely intended) as early as next year.