Next Energy Technologies Delivers Solar Prototype Window Wall to Paris

Next Energy Technologies Inc., makers of a proprietary transparent photovoltaic (PV) coating that transforms commercial windows into energy-producing solar panels, announced the delivery of a PV prototype window wall to Bouygues Construction in Paris. Bouygues is a construction firm that specializes in complex commercial projects around the globe.

The prototype was delivered by Next in collaboration with its partners, Walters & Wolf, a commercial curtainwall manufacturer and glazing subcontractor headquartered in Fremont, Calif., and commercial glass fabricator, Glassfab Tempering Services/Solarfab in Tracy, Calif.

“Next’s technology is both unique and promising. We’re proud to support their collaboration with Bouygues Construction and will continue to work side by side with them in bringing their product to market,” said Nick Kocelj, president of Walters & Wolf.

“We support Next Energy in their focused effort in providing a unique and innovative product to the architectural market. When presented the opportunity to participate in this project, we were eager to assist in any way possible,” said Brian Frea, president of Glassfab Tempering Services/ Solarfab.

Next’s proprietary transparent photovoltaic coating transforms commercial windows into energy-producing solar panels by converting unwanted infrared and UV light into electricity. This system can help enable buildings to power themselves with their windows which retain their traditional transparency and performance, according to the company.

The prototype installation consists of 10 transparent photovoltaic windows that supply electricity to a battery that powers an interactive display as well as auxiliary charging outlets for phones, tablets and other electronics. The prototype will be used to showcase the power generation functionality, transparency and aesthetics, and a seamless integration into a standard glazing system designed by Walters & Wolf to carry the electronics, wiring and hardware that comprise the balance-of-system, according to the company.

Windows Can Benefit Our Health–Glazing Industry Can Help

Lisa Heschong, a fellow of the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), shared notable pieces from her own research about how lives are enriched by the presence of natural daylight and window views within buildings. Her discussion took palce during the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA) 2021 Virtual Summer Conference.

Various products in the market promote simulated daylight with different lighting, furniture or even a webcam. But none of those can compete with the real thing.

“I see the level of venture capital investment that is going into these kinds of integrated environment product lines. So I think there’s a real threat … pretty still far on the horizon but enough to pay attention to, that our desire for healthy environments is being translated into a digital simulation,” she said.

Now is a moment when the glazing industry has “the opportunity to step forward … We’re providing the real thing, not the simulated thing,” said Heschong. “We need healthy buildings, we need buildings that support our physiological needs, and this is being recognized more and more by various green building codes and voluntary standards.”

Heschong argued that there are very good reasons why great architecture celebrates views. The glass and glazing industry is in the best position to offer healthy places for people to live, work and learn. Daylight and exposure to the environment shouldn’t rely on simulated and digital means—people thrive in reality.

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