As photovoltaic modules experience price declines, approaches that increase the value of photovoltaics by reducing the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE; defined as the lifetime energy cost divided by the lifetime energy production) are of increasing interest. Further, photovoltaic (PV) modules integrated with other components to provide functionality beyond power generation are an important part of the next generation of modules. One specific example of this increased functionality is commercial applications, such as grocery stores and warehouses, where a large portion of the energy requirements are directed to midday cooling and lighting. Incorporating skylights reduces the need for artificial lighting, but simultaneously increases the cooling demand. Therefore, there is a need for a system to provide natural lighting without increasing the cooling demands associated with traditional skylights.
Researchers at Arizona State University have developed a PV module with integrated daylighting, enabling both electricity production and decreased energy usage. This multifunctional skylight consists of integrated solar cells in a transparent “skylight”, containing low-cost light-steering holographic optics. Direct radiation during several hours of the day is directed towards the solar cells for electricity generation, avoiding glare and heat gain during the highest cooling periods. Diffuse radiation or radiation falling outside of the solar cell area is used for daylighting, reducing the need for artificial lighting. Further, this technology may be readily integrated into existing markets and applications.
• Commercial Buildings - grocery stores, warehouses
• Residential Construction- homes, condominiums, apartments
• Industrial Buildings - manufacturing
• Architecture and Construction Services
• Infrastructure Integration - Airports, Curb/Street locations, Smoke/Vent Spaces
Benefits and Advantages
• Enhanced Functionality
• Improved Quality of Lighting
• Reduced Costs of Electricity Generation
• Increased efficiency and throughput over known approaches
• Lower Capital Expense for the PV Module
• Ability to Customize Light Capture to Specific Times/Durations
• Facile Integration into Existing Structures and New Construction - Skylights with integrated PV collects more energy than window integrated PV