Is combining solar cells and windows a situation of chocolate and peanut butter (excellent combo) or one of those unions which equals less than the sum of its elements? Whilst the marketplace has but to decide this, feel no cost to be your personal judge. Here’s the case: Startup Pythagoras Solar has developed and is selling a double-pane window embedded with solar cells, and this week got recognition (and $100,000) from GE for its innovation.

The notion is the fact that the window lets in much less light, while still getting transparent, so buildings get needed shade throughout hot sunny hours, decreasing their air conditioning use and creating the constructing a lot more energy-efficient. At the same time, the solar panels make solar power, which the building can use for electricity. The business is at the moment targeting architects and commercial building owners.
Four-year-old Pythagoras Solar will announce its 1st commercial installation in the coming weeks, CEO Gonen Fink told me in an interview, along with the business has been working for a number of years on smaller pilot projects, like a single on the south-facing side from the Willis Tower in Chicago. The business, which has its R&D and investors in Israel, is inside the process of moving from the project stage into mass production. The business raised a $10 million series A round from Israel Cleantech Ventures, Pitango Venture Capital and Evergreen Venture Partners.

So when Pythagoras is churning out these solar windows on a grand scale will they fly off the shelves? Part in the success will depend on the math. The solar windows cost far more than a standard window, bur will be priced on par with some from the new dynamic tinting windows that are coming to the market place from firms like Soladigm and Sage, said Fink.

The windows are also much more expensive per square foot than straight solar PV, but factoring within the power efficiency savings and clean energy savings of the solar windows, Fink says their return on investment is 3 to 5 years. Solar panels, on the other hand, take longer, like 7 to 12 years to deliver a return.