Sunpartner uses a transparent photovoltaic material to make glass act like a solar panel.

October 05, 2017

Solar glass to save the planet

Sunpartner generates electricity from windows and other surfaces as part of the ‘energy revolution’

Imagine an office where everyday items – a desk, table, watch, smartphone and even windows – can act like a solar panel and collect energy.

Ludovic Deblois started imagining this world 10 years ago. Today his company is bringing this “smart” office to life in the building industry.

“The building sector has had a colossal effect on the environment since its origins,” says Deblois, the founder and chief executive of Sunpartner Technologies of Aix-en-Provence in southern France. “People in all regions of the world understand today that we need to end the wastefulness.”

Sunpartner was created in 2008 to make innovative and invisible solar products for electronics, buildings and transport. The company calls its technology WYSIPS®, or “what you see is photovoltaic surface.”  


Ludovic Deblois predicts a solar revolution in the building sector.

Ludovic Deblois predicts a solar revolution in the building sector.

One of the company’s key products is a nearly transparent photovoltaic glass that can power dimmable windows. The tint can be adjusted remotely by a smartphone to reduce the need for air conditioning. The glass can be connected to a building’s management system to transmit information.

The company also makes glass that acts like a solar panel, and it developed decorative building cladding called Cameleon that captures energy. The Cameleon line can be used on signs and billboards, allowing them to disconnect from the electricity grid.

“We are right in the middle of an energy revolution in the building sector,” says Deblois, 39.

Sunpartner has even developed an ultra-thin, flexible and transparent solar material that can be added to cellphones, watches and many other surfaces to collect data as well as energy from the sun or indoor lighting.


Sunpartner was created in 2008 to make innovative and invisible solar products.

Sunpartner was created in 2008 to make innovative and invisible solar products.

Julie Chevaillier, an investment officer at the European Investment Bank involved in clean-technology projects, says she loves the story of Sunpartner.

“From a vision – producing green electricity locally on any surface – Sunpartner has developed a product and is now moving from a pure research and development company to one that produces and commercializes products that have the potential to save the planet,” she says.

The EIB signed a EUR 15 million loan with Sunpartner on Oct. 5 as part of the European Growth Finance Facility, a program that targets innovative companies around Europe and is supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments.

 

Sunpartner will use the EIB investment to establish its commercial infrastructure, on the back of its recent joint venture deal with Vinci Construction, expand research and development as well as further increase production.

“We are committed to making all kinds of surfaces ‘smart’ and able to general electricity from natural or artificial light,” Deblois says. “We are opening up a whole new world of options.”

05 October 2017

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