Cheap technology that can be retrofitted into windows could boost solar’s productivity fourfold, according to researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Novel optical concentrators housed inside double-glazed windows could channel energy into photovoltaic cells to boost their generation.

The group believes that a grid of concentrators and cells can provide a significant impact on reducing energy consumption in the home – in a cost effective manner.

Researchers at the university, led by Dr Roberto Ramirez-Iniguez, believe that square-ended prisms which capture light at a range of different angles could be manufactured for less than £1 each if mass produced.   

Commenting on the concentrator’s potential, Dr Ramirez-Iniguez said: “There has been lots of research into 2D and 3D concentrators, which tend to be designed for a single field-of-view value.

“What is innovative about this design is the geometry which allows maximum gain on both planes. It is also compact and reduces the amount of PV cell material needed and, therefore, the cost of the system.”

Dr Ramriez-Iniguez and his team have patented the new solar concentrator including the design algorithm.

The concentrator also has the potential to work in areas other than solar, with its ability to collect visible and infrared radiation meaning it could be used in optical wireless communications for example.