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Electricity-generating windows 'a reality in five years'

Edited by Bob Witham.

Residential property owners could be using their windows to generate clean renewable energy within the next five years thanks to a new research project taking place in the UK.

Norwegian company EnSol AS has patented a design that sees solar cells suspended in a transparent matrix, which can then be sprayed as a thin film on to surfaces such as windows or roofs.

The firm is working with the University of Leicester to develop prototype cells.

A spokesperson for EnSol AS said: "The basic cell concept has been demonstrated and it will be the objective of this research and development project to systematically refine this photovoltaic cell technology to achieve a cell efficiency of 20 per cent or greater."

Chris Binns, a professor of nanotechnology at the university, said windows coated with the film would be slightly tinted to absorb light.

He added that because only a thin layer of the spray is required, the technique could be much cheaper to apply than conventional solar energy systems.