Glass to Power is a spin-off of the University of Milan-Bicocca that was established in September 2016 with the goal of developing semi-transparent photovoltaic windows that can be integrated into the architecture of building façades. Interest in Building Integration Photovoltaics (BIPV), where the photovoltaic elements become an integral part of the building body, is growing worldwide. Photovoltaic specialists and innovative designers in Europe, Japan, and the U.S. are now exploring creative ways of incorporating solar electricity into buildings. The BIPV market is forecasted to significantly grow to over $6 billion by 2022 at a yearly rate of ~30%. Europe will account for about 40% of the total market. Specifically, the nearly-Zero Energy Buildings (nZEB) sector is expected to be the fastest growing segment.
Glass to Power was founded under the guidance of Professor Francesco Meinardi (present chairman of the spin-off) and Professor Sergio Brovelli (chairman of the scientific committee) with an initial capital of 300,000 Euro. The main share holders are: Industrie De Nora, Karma Srl, TEC Srl, University of Milan-Bicocca, and Management Innovations Srl.
Glass to Power’s project is aimed at the industrialization and successive commercialization of Luminescent Solar Concentrators (LSCs) consisting of a semi-transparent panel of plastic material doped with chromophores that absorb the solar radiationand re-emit infrared photons. These latter are guided to the panel edges and here converted into electricity by conventional PV cells. Patents by Professors Brovelli and Meinardi have dramatically improved the LSC technology using as chromophores colloidal Quantum Dots (QDs) that can effectively decouple the processes of absorptionandemission of light. This makes it possible to obtain colorless poly acrylate panels, with an electrical generation efficiency close to 5%, made of non-toxicmaterials that can be easily integrated into building walls and windows. Glass to Power currently enrolls two young researchers, Dr. Graziella Gariano and Dr Francesco Bruni, who were recently recruited for the realization of the first industrial-grade LSCs whose installation in beta-test environments is scheduled within the end of 2017.