According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, buildings consume nearly half of all energy produced in the United States, most of which comes from nonrenewable sources. Traditional onsite solar panels can alleviate this dependency for certain types of buildings, but many commercial buildings are constrained by limited rooftop space and simply don’t allow for much solar, or it’s not cost effective.
By making use of the facades of buildings and integrating a photovoltaic nano-coating technology between two panes of glass, NEXT Energy Technologies taps an energy source that is often overlooked—the sunlight that passes through a building’s windows—and uses it to offset reliance on the grid. NEXT’s windows are manufactured and implemented at half the cost of traditional solar due to scalable printing methods and elimination of encapsulation costs, making it viable for a wider range of applications than traditional solar. Installing these windows brings a quick return: the technology pays for itself in only one year while providing over 30 years of clean energy.
With high transparency and efficiency even under high-angle and low-light conditions, NEXT’s windows can naturally illuminate a home or commercial space while generating energy for the building’s other needs. Window color and transmission can be customized to building specifications or for aesthetic purposes.
NEXT Energy was co-founded by UCSB alumnus Dr. Corey Hoven, a researcher in the Materials Department specializing in the design of organic solar cells, and by Daniel Emmett, who has more than 20 years of experience in energy efficiency and conservation. The company has its roots in the UCSB Technology Management Program, where they won the New Venture Competition in 2010. Since then, it has grown to a team of 20 and received over $2.5 million in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funds from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy to develop its energy-generating technology, and has just executed its first joint development and license agreement with a leading window fabrication partner for commercialization of its transparent photovoltaic coatings.
NEXT Energy Technologies is headquartered in Santa Barbara, CA, and serves as yet another example of how UCSB alumni and licensed technology can have the potential for a large social impact.
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