Harnessing Solar Energy from Glass Surfaces

Going Green recently sat down with Susan Stone, the CEO of Ubiquitous Energy, one of the leading companies in transparent photovoltaic, which allows a window coating to harness solar energy from glass surfaces to generate electricity, all while remaining visibly indistinguishable from traditional windows. Let’s get to know Susan a bit better, and find where her passion comes from and where she expects this technology to have an impact on the world.

Susan, thank you for being here. Tell us about your background: 

I am a investment banker and venture capital investor turned operator, currently CEO at Ubiquitous Energy, where we make transparent solar technology. Our first products are windows for residential and commercial use.

Commercial Use of Technology

The push for greener buildings presents challenges for builders and developers alike. With commercial buildings accounting for nearly 40 percent of the world’s total energy consumption, UE windows make aggressive carbon-neutral goals achievable for both new and existing structures.

To building occupants, UE windows have the clear, vibrant experience that is expected from traditional windows. To building administrators and developers, they are a powerful new tool in the quest for optimal energy use. Ubiquitous Energy’s technology will harness solar energy from the glass and use it to generate electricity.

What caused you to get into your industry? 

I began investing in early stage cleantech in 2009/2010 and am a true believer in renewable energy. In my personal life I spend a lot of times outdoors and feel the impact of climate change every day in a very intimate way.

What trends are you seeing in your industry? 

Because our first products are in architectural glass, that’s where we focus a lot of our attention. Within both residential and commercial building there is increasing interest in green building, net zero building and making the materials and techniques that enable those mainstream.

We’re also closely following the explosive growth of smart and connected home technology. Because we produce power via our windows, we can enable really interesting features and devices to be embedded in windows that are really part of a home’s “skin”. The ability for a home to constantly monitor its interior and exterior environment and react to it is on the horizon.

Residential Windows

Ubiquitous Energy powers the undetectable anchor for the smart home industry: the smart window. UE’s residential windows are a new product category, windows with on-board solar power to drive a variety of functions.

The on-board power platform seamlessly integrates with a plethora of smart home devices and other electronics throughout the home, all while maintaining complete continuity with traditional residential windows, both in terms of visual aesthetic and low-E functionality.

What is one action item for our listeners and viewers to take away from this conversation? 

To think locally about how you power your home and fuel your lifestyle. Check with your utility to find out what percentage of their generation portfolio is from renewable sources. Be mindful as you add devices to your home – essentially, to pay attention!

What is a fun fact about you? 

I’m lucky enough to live in the mountains in Truckee, CA with my husband and our dog, Kaya. The fun fact is that Kaya is an avalanche dog at Squaw Valley USA and for the Placer County Sheriff, where she’s a first responder helping locate any buried humans in the event a backcountry avalanche occurs.

Where do you see your industry ten years from now? 

10 years from now, I see buildings generating their own power and reducing our reliance on the grid. I see transparent solar windows and facades as standard building materials as we turn skyscrapers into vertical solar farms.

Ubiquitous Energy envisions a world where every surface, no matter how large or small, can generate electricity without compromising aesthetics using truly transparent photovoltaic technology. We see endless possibilities, applying our proprietary coating to consumer electronics, transportation vehicles, and even greenhouses.

Any product that requires electricity can benefit from transparent solar, and as more high-quality, smart devices are adopted, the more opportunity we have to become less reliant on outside power sources. The possibilities are truly ubiquitous.

Going Green wants to thank Susan for sharing her work and capturing Solar Energy from Glass Surfaces

Going Green, hosted by Dylan Welch, interviews leading experts in cleantech, sustainability, media, finance, and real estate on the Going Green podcast. Tune in and subscribe to the podcast on Apple or Spotify to listen to interviews with leading cleantech and sustainable experts.

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