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Greenhouses Powered By Solar Glass – And Australian Technology

solar glass

A $1.6 million grant is being used to further develop solar glass that could power greenhouses and provide perfect year-round growing conditions.

The grant from the Federal Government’s Cooperative Research Centre will be used to construct a 300sqm greenhouse using glass that can generate 50 watts of power per square metre of surface area. The special glass is being developed by Edith Cowan University’s Electron Science Research Institute (ESRI) in partnership with ClearVue Technologies.

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“Being able to selectively control light radiation, thus maximising the crop yield, while producing and storing electricity for water desalination, irrigation, heating and air conditioning, will enable greenhouses to operate in a closed environment,” says ESRI Director Professor Kamal Alameh.

“This is particularly significant for parts of the world that are too hot and dry for traditional greenhouse agriculture.”

Solar glass - electricity generation
Image : ClearVue Technologies

Greenhouse horticulture is becoming an increasingly important source of food supplies. By January last year, the total world greenhouse vegetable area had reached 489,214 hectares (1,208,874 acres). That’s a lot of greenhouses, a lot of glass and a lot of energy that could be generated and saved.

According to Protected Cropping Australia, greenhouse horticulture is the fastest growing food producing sector in Australia, with a farm gate value of $1.3 billion – equivalent to 20% of total vegetable and flow production value. The sector is reportedly growing at 4 – 6% per annum.

The grant is an important milestone for ClearVue.

“Our technology presents a paradigm shift in the way glass will be used in building construction, automobiles, agriculture and specialty products,” said ClearVue’s Victor Rosenberg.

“Glass will no longer just be a component of construction, glass now has the potential to be a renewable energy resource. “

Cleavue’s special glazing sits within an activated interlayer sandwiched between two panes of glass. The company states the interlayer prevents 90 per cent of solar UV and IR radiation from penetrating the glass pane; the energy from which is redirected to the edge of the glass for harvesting through solar cells. The solar glass enables 70 per cent of visible light to pass through.

Other developments in solar glass we’ve covered include quantum dot solar windows.

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Potential benefits of solar glass greenhouses

  • Reduced energy costs: Solar glass greenhouses can generate electricity, significantly reducing energy costs for farmers.
  • Improved crop yields and quality: Solar glass greenhouses can help regulate the temperature and humidity inside the greenhouse, improving crop yields and quality.
  • Reduced environmental impact: Solar glass greenhouses can help reduce agriculture’s environmental impact by using renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Increased food security: Solar glass greenhouses can help to increase food security by making food production more reliable and less dependent on fossil fuels.

Challenges and opportunities

One of the main challenges facing the development of solar glass greenhouses is the cost of the technology. Solar glass is currently more expensive than traditional greenhouse glass. However, the cost of solar glass is expected to decrease as the technology continues to develop and scale.

Another challenge is that solar glass greenhouses may only suit some climates and crops. For example, solar glass greenhouses may not be suitable for crops that require a lot of sunlight, as the glass can block some of the sunlight from reaching the plants.

Despite these challenges, there are several opportunities for solar glass greenhouses. The global greenhouse market is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, and there is a growing demand for more sustainable and energy-efficient greenhouse technologies. Solar glass greenhouses have the potential to meet this demand and play a major role in the future of agriculture.

ClearVue solar PV glass

The future of solar glass greenhouses

The global market for solar glass greenhouses is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. This growth is driven by several factors, including the increasing demand for food, the rising cost of energy, and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Australian companies are well-positioned to capitalise on this growth. With their leading-edge technology and innovative products, Australian companies are helping to shape the future of the solar glass greenhouse industry.

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Images: ClearVue Technologies

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