• Pythagoras Solars photovoltaic glass units combine low-E selective glass with integral PV cells and optics for use in windows, skylights, and curtain wall systems.

    Credit: Harry Whitver

    Pythagoras Solar’s photovoltaic glass units combine low-E selective glass with integral PV cells and optics for use in windows, skylights, and curtain wall systems.

High-performance building products that perform multiple functions, deepen a building’s sustainability, and integrate seamlessly into the bulding’s design and construction will increasingly define the cutting edge for green building. That’s why new window technology from Pythagoras Solar caught our eye.

The California-based company developed photovoltaic glass units (PVGUs) that combine the energy efficiency of high-performance low-E insulated glass with the power-generating magic of PVs, resulting in glazing units that can be integrated into windows, skylights, and curtain walls for commercial buildings—probably the technology’s best application.

The patent-pending system uses optics adhered to the outer surface of the 11/4-inch-thick glass to direct incoming sunlight onto PV cells integrated horizontally into the glazing units. According to the company, the PVGUs are 12% efficient, and a 5-foot-by-5-foot unit will generate a maxium output of 600 volts DC. The optical coatings and PV cells also act to separate sunlight according to its angle of incidence, resulting in a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) ranging between 0.14 and 0.41.

The product is already installed in U.S. projects to be unveiled later this year. It will become increasingly available through existing glazing supply chains as the roll-out continues, with residential products planned for late 2012.

“Based on the enthusiastic reception we have seen so far, the market seems to be ready and eager for this PVGU,” says Udi Paret, vice president of business development and marketing for Pythagoras. For more information visit www.pythagoras-solar.com.