Not much to it, really. I took an off the shelf electric mower and added some panels to charge batteries. I've since replaced the very heavy SLA cells with a 10AH NiMh pack, and that makes the machine much easier to navigate. It takes about three good days to recharge the cells, so sometimes I mow on a particular day to make sure I get a good solar harvest.
William, windows may not generate a lot of power on their own. But with conventional electricity produced by fossil fuels, we have been conditioned to think of only a single power source technology. With alternative energy sources, the idea is often to combine different power sources and with multiple energy inputs. I've become more aware of that mix living out in the forest with electricity for lights and powering the ceiling fan (for cooling and heating), a woodstove for heat, and propane for hot water. So the idea of getting energy in a single building from solar and wind, for instance, and from window films plus panels on the roof, or those plus passive solar collection methods, makes sense.
I agree with Mydesign about the investment in active PV solar being worth it over the long run. However, homeowners have to be able to afford the several thousands of dollars investment and not everyone can do it. Regarding solar panel thickness, yes, that's one of the whole points of this project.
William, all the natural energy conservation methods require a little bit upfront investment and we can have a fair ROI in long term. The immediate ROI is less because, we are using the generated power for domestic use and it has to be calculated according to the tariff sheet provided by the local energy distributor. I had done a similar calculation before going for solar power to my house and it found that it will take minimum 20 years for cover up the initial investment cost. But have the proud that am using natural resources and no need to worry about tariff hike or power cuts.
Ann, the normal Solar panels are of thick in size and it cannot be used other than fix in terrace of buildings. If the thickness is less and of comfortable size, they can be fixing in outside walls and window doors. So most of the people may prefer and in turn more natural energy can be produced.
This is an interesting concept indeed. But aside from the discussions about relative efficiency, how much useful power is a window-cell going to produce? Then, consider the logistics of transporting the power from a window that can open, because some folks do open windows for ventillation at times. Finally, consider the expense of the hardware needed to convert whatever power is produced to a voltage-current level that can actually be useful.
My whole point is that what we have here is an interesting developement that may not be "worth the effort" to implement it. At that point it becomes valid to question how much effort and resources should be expended in that direction.
All kinds of passive storage methods have been developed, many of them in the 70s and 80s, some more recently, Most of them derive from building designs that are thousands of years old. This is not new technology.
I don't think a smart grid is needed. Some of the original solar power designs in the 70s were passive: the power generated is used by the building that generates it. You don't need a smart grid to do that.
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