Once it’s fully connected, newly installed stained glass will generate electrical power for the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  Lux Gloria, by Toronto artist Sarah Hall, is expected to produce about 2,500 kilowatt hours annually, about a third or a quarter of the electrical power consumed by a typical area home.

According to Emily Chung of CBC NewsLux Gloria is one of six solar-stained glass window installations across Canada and the US that Hall has created. The first was part of a McGill University project displayed at the 2005 Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC.

Hall works with engineer Christof Erban and a glass studio in Germany to place solar cells between two layers of art glass.

Because the solar cells aren’t transparent, Hall uses dichroic glass at the back of the cells to make them colourful and reflective, but emerging technologies may allow future installations to be transparent and still generate electricity.

I suspect that to gain wider use (or to be of more than symbolic value) both the efficiency (now typically about 15%) and/or lifespan (20 years or so) of the photovoltaics will need to increase.

See the full article at CBC’s website.

Image at top by Sarah Hall via CBC