When Google announced last week that it was launching ‘Project Sunroof’- an online tool that uses machine learning to evaluate the solar potential of houses by examining roof area, roof angle and the positioning of the sun, the search engine giant was following similar moves by Tesla and IKEA in pledging to do more to embrace the power of the sun.
For a number of years now we have been told that solar power will one day be all the earth needs to run the billions of homes, cars and gadgets currently over-reliant on the unhealthy burning of fossil fuels. Not long ago, the UK Government pledged to invest £1 billion in a scheme to equip thousands of lower income households with solar panels in what was a clear example of this belief and proof that action is being taken by those in power to harness the sun's potential- Donald Trump notwithstanding.
Photos of solar panels on commercial and residential roofs have become increasingly recognisable to the general public as more and more businesses and homeowners began to take a 'greener’ approach to electricity, while other traditional home features, such as roof windows, are now made to operate solely on solar power after the industry's premier manufacturer, VELUX, moved into the market a few years back.
VELUX has incorporated the majority of its most popular sizes, materials and colour specifications into its solar window offering as a show of faith in their eco-friendly models' ability to provide an attractive alternative to electric windows.
The benefits of solar windows are many. Switching your electric windows to solar-charged windows is a way to both lower your carbon footprint and save money while opting for solar over manual lets you enjoy all the same convenient benefits of electric. In this blog we will examine what exactly solar power is, how it works in relation to windows and what benefits solar windows hold.
What is Solar Power
Books could be written to explain the atomic complexity of how solar power works, and many no doubt have. But, it is simplest form, solar power means the power of the sun. It is essentially sunlight converted to electricity.
For a slightly more detailed explanation, solar power is captured when sunlight hits the PV cells in a solar panel and the electrons are knocked loose and moved around. These loose electrons can be captured and moved in the same direction around a circuit. An electric current is then formed by this flow of electrons in the same direction.
How do Solar Windows Operate
Solar windows from VELUX utilise the energy from the sun through a photovoltaic (PV) solar cell on the external window frame. The light from the sun charges a high-performance NiMH battery that provides power to open and close the window.
The power is stored in the battery to be used when and how the user likes. Operating the window is done through the use of a remote control, meaning solar windows can be placed as high up on the roof as desired.
Solar windows do not have to be plugged into a power supply and no rerouting of electric wires is required, making installation a quick and easy job. Solar windows get all the power they need from the sun.
'What about on cloudy days,’ you might be thinking (especially if you’re from the UK where sunny days are not exactly forthcoming). Well, cloudy days will naturally not see as much electricity generated but sufficient sunlight should still be absorbed to run solar windows efficiently throughout the day and beyond. With that being said, in regards to your windows, how often you would actually want or need to open them on the most cloudy and wet days is debatable.
Solar windows can stand up to the most severe storms as the solar cells on VELUX windows are completely waterproof. On the subject of water, solar windows from VELUX will close automatically at the first sign of rain to ensure your home never gets wet.
What are the Benefits of Solar Windows
Better for the environment than electric- No direct greenhouse gasses or toxic waste emissions as no fossil fuels are burned, instead the electricity needed is generated in the most natural of ways- directly by the sun. Fossil fuels are widely considered one of the greatest threats to the environment today with their burning contributing heavily to global warming.
Renewable energy- As a power source, solar energy will never die out as long as the sun rises in the sky. The supply of fossil fuels on the other hand is limited and will eventually run out.
No running costs- Solar windows run on the power of the sun, no maintenance is needed and no spares are required as the battery should recharge whenever there is daylight and should keep stored for days.
Added appeal- Solar windows can give your property extra appeal. If you are renting out your home or running a business, solar windows are an attractive draw for people and can even add to a building’s value.
Quick installation- As mentioned earlier, no wiring is needed with solar windows. Electric windows on the other hand require the window to be connected to an electric circuit.
Luxury of operation- Just as with electric windows, VELUX solar windows are operated via remote control, meaning you can open and close them at your leisure without even having to get off your sofa or bed. Windows can be opened from anywhere in the home.
Save money on bills- A well-known advantage for all VELUX products, VELUX roof windows let in more natural daylight as competitor windows, and solar models are no exception. An abundance of natural daylight will reduce the need to switch on artificial light sources during the daytime, while the U-values attached to VELUX solar models will lower the chances of you needing to crank up the heating every second.
Solar Windows at Sterlingbuild
VELUX solar power windows are part of the brand’s highly innovative INTEGRA range, a popular choice for extensions and home improvement projects the world over. Pine solar windows are an attractive option for garage and loft bedroom conversions, while PU solar windows make for a seamless match with most kitchens and bathrooms.
Coming with a 10-year guarantee for added peace of mind, VELUX solar power roof windows are available in three glazing thickness options, a choice of laminated or noise reduction glazing and three external finishes.
Sterlingbuild is the UK's largest independent retailer of VELUX windows and the cheapest too thanks to our longstanding Price Match Promise.