Folks have been talking about solar windows for a long time - glass windows that act as solar collectors and electrical generators. They've finally made it to the consumer market, but they are - for now at least - prohibitively expensive. As Crunchgear reports,
According to the company, the electricity produced through the panes will be just enough to power a PC and recharge a cell phone. The electricity will be tapped via USB ports.
On sunny days, the new windowpanes are supposed to generate up to 70 watts of electricity per square meter of glass. The solar cells have a power generation efficiency of 7 to 8%. The glass (thickness: 10.5mm) will prevent up to 90% of sunlight coming into a room and therefore reduce air conditioning costs.
The invention comes at a high price, though. Nihon Telecommunication System charges $1,900 per square meter in average but still expects to sell 10,000 windowpanes annually.
So, given the price, you'll have to "power a PC and recharge a cell phone" continuously for the next 60 years or so just to break even. Maybe, now that the technology is out there, they'll be ready for real-world applications at real-world prices within a few years.