Myth vs. Fact: Can Solar Panels Charge Through Glass?

The Myth: Solar Panels Can’t Charge Through Glass

Have you ever heard the myth that solar panels can’t charge through glass? It’s a common misconception that has been debunked time and time again by experts in the field.

Solar panels can charge through glass, despite the common myth that says they can’t. They convert direct sunlight into electricity through silicon cells. Glass is used to protect solar cells, but it must be transparent to the wavelengths of solar light the cells absorb. Most types of glass used in construction and manufacturing are transparent to these wavelengths.

According to National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), solar cells can absorb up to 95% of direct sunlight passing through a glass cover.

Solar panel technology has advanced with anti-reflective coatings. This makes it easier to charge through the glass.

The Science of Solar Panel Technology

Solar panels use photovoltaic cells (PV) to convert light into an electrical current. These cells, typically made of silicon, absorb sunlight, which knocks electrons loose from the silicon atoms.

Conductive plates then capture these electrons, allowing them to flow as a current that can power devices or be stored in a battery. Efficiency depends on the photovoltaic cell’s (PV) type, materials, and panel orientation.

New technology could make solar panels more efficient and less expensive. Researchers at the University of Michigan created a new panel that has the potential to be a more affordable option.

This new panel is made from organic and inorganic materials!

Types of Glass and Their Impact on Solar Energy Generation

You might wonder if the type of glass used in your glass windows or skylights might affect their efficiency. The answer is: yes, it can!

Different types of glass can have other impacts on solar energy generation. It’s worth understanding these differences to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your solar panels.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of glass used in construction:

  1. Clear Glass: Clear Glass is commonly used in glass windows and skylights due to its affordability and ability to let natural solar light enter a room. However, its low solar heat gain coefficient makes it inefficient at blocking heat from the sun.
  2. Low-E Glass: Low-emissivity (Low-E) Glass is coated with a layer of metal. This reflects heat back into a room and reduces heating costs. It also decreases solar panel efficiency by up to 7%, according to a study by researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  3. Tinted Glass: Tinted Glass reduces solar light and heat. It lowers cooling costs but also decreases the amount of sunlight that can pass through to solar panels.
  4. Textured Glass: Textured Glass scatters sunlight. This makes it harder for solar panels to absorb and convert solar light into electricity.

Exploring the Factors That Affect Solar Panel Efficiency

To ensure your solar panels work well, you need to consider certain factors that can affect their efficiency.

Environmental factors and technical issues can affect solar panel performance. This can happen even though they can effectively convert sunlight into electricity.


The temperature of a solar panel can have a significant impact on its efficiency.

In general, solar panels work best when they’re cool, as high temperatures can reduce the voltage and current they’re able to generate.

However, according to a study by researchers at Stanford University, solar panel efficiency can drop by up to 1% for every degree Celsius above 25°C.

Orientation and Angle

The orientation and angle of solar panels can also impact their efficiency.

To maximize solar panel efficiency, they should face the sun directly and be angled according to the location’s latitude. A south-facing roof in the Northern Hemisphere is ideal for generating the most electricity.

In general, a tilt angle equal to the latitude of the installation site can maximize solar panel efficiency.


Any kind of shading, whether from trees, buildings, or other structures, can reduce solar panel efficiency.

Suppose even a small portion of a solar panel is shaded. The entire panel can experience a reduction in energy generation. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that solar panels are installed in an area free from shading.

Panel Quality

The quality of the solar panels themselves can also impact their efficiency. High-quality panels are made with better materials and are designed to maximize energy generation.

Good-quality solar panels can be 5% more efficient than lower-quality ones. This is according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.


One of the main reasons why the maintenance of solar panels affects their efficiency is dirt and debris buildup. As solar panels get dirty, they become less efficient at absorbing sunlight, which can lower their overall output.

Research has shown that even a small amount of dirt on solar panels can reduce efficiency by up to 7%.

Regular maintenance can help ensure that your solar panels are operating at maximum efficiency. By doing so, you can not only save money on energy costs but also extend the lifespan of your solar panel system.

Real-World Examples of Solar Panels That Can Charge Through Glass

If you need a little more convincing that solar panels charge through glass, we’ll take a closer look at some real-world examples.

SolarWindow Technologies

Solar panels can charge through glass, and there are real-world examples to prove it. SolarWindow Technologies developed liquid coatings that can turn any glass surface into a solar panel. This generates up to 50 times more energy than conventional panels.

Tesla’s Solar Roof

Tesla’s Solar Roof replaces traditional roofing materials with solar panels. The panels are made up of individual tiles that contain solar cells encased in tempered glass. According to Tesla, the Solar Roof can provide up to 100% of a home’s energy needs.

Wysips Crystal Technology

Developed by French company SunPartner. This can be applied to smartphone screens and other glass surfaces to generate electricity from sunlight. According to SunPartner, the technology can generate up to 10 milliwatts of power per square centimetre of surface area.

Portable Solar Panels

Portable solar panels are small and easy-to-carry devices that use solar power to generate electricity. They’re perfect for outdoor activities like camping and hiking.

These panels are made up of photovoltaic cells that can charge even when exposed to low light conditions, such as when placed behind glass.

The global market for portable solar panels was worth $1.63 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow at a rate of 11.2% from 2021 to 2028. These panels are an excellent example of how solar power can be used on the go in a sustainable way.

Of course, these are just three examples of solar panels that can charge through the glass. There are many other companies and technologies that are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with solar energy.

Innovations in Solar Panel Technology That Maximize Efficiency

Learn about the latest solar panel tech that maximizes efficiency and accessibility. Perovskite solar cells use a combo of materials for high efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

In a recent study, they reached an impressive 25% efficiency rate, with the potential to go higher. Despite being in the early stages, perovskite tech holds tremendous promise for solar energy.

Another innovation in solar technologies that are helping to maximize efficiency is the use of bifacial solar panels. Bifacial solar panels with cells on both sides can capture sunlight from the front and back, boosting energy production by up to 27%.

Bifacial solar panels absorb solar light from the ground. It also includes surfaces that pass through them, says the National Renewable Energy Laboratory study.

Other innovations in solar panel technology that are helping to maximize efficiency include:

  • Concentrated Solar Power (CSP): This technology uses mirrors or lenses. These are used to focus sunlight onto a small area, creating intense heat that can be used to generate electricity. CSP can be more efficient than traditional solar panels, especially in areas with high levels of direct sunlight.
  • Thin Film Solar Panels: These panels use a thin layer of semiconductor material to convert sunlight into electricity. They are lighter, more flexible, and more versatile than traditional solar panels, making them ideal for use in a variety of settings.
  • Solar Tracking Systems: These systems move solar panels throughout the day to keep them facing the sun. They maximize the amount of energy they can generate. Solar tracking systems can boost energy output by up to 25%, as stated by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Innovations in solar technology are making it more efficient, accessible, and affordable than ever before. As solar technology continues to advance, we can expect even more exciting developments in the years to come.


To embrace renewable energy, we must separate fact from fiction. One myth is that solar panels can’t charge through glass, but it’s not true. Solar panels can charge through glass, and many types of glass can optimize solar energy.

At Solar Comparison, we provide the information you need to make informed decisions about solar energy for your home or business. Don’t let myths hold you back from a sustainable future.

Contact us to take the first step!

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