Comparison of the overall energy performance of semi-transparent photovoltaic windows and common energy-efficient windows in Hong Kong

Weilong Zhang, Lin Lu, Jinqing Peng, Aotian Song

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Semi-transparent photovoltaic (STPV) windows, which can not only admit daylight into space but also generate electricity, have been widely used as a part of building components in recent years. This paper compares the overall energy performance between STPV windows and commonly used energy-efficient windows, viz. double-pane and Low-E windows, in Hong Kong. A new type of see-through amorphous silicon (a-Si) photovoltaic (PV) module was adopted, and this PV module has higher efficiency compared with other commercialized a-Si PV modules with the same visible transmittance. First, a series of testing were carried out to get the technical parameters of this PV module. Second, the simulation models were developed theoretically, and power, thermal and daylighting performance of different windows were analyzed by EnergyPlus accordingly together with the input weather data of typical meteorological year (TMY) in Hong Kong. Then, based on the simulated energy uses of the air-conditioning and the artificial lighting of the room, as well as the power generation of the STPV windows themselves, the overall energy performance was evaluated. The results indicate that STPV glazing can save up to 18% and 16% total electricity per year respectively in comparison with the clear single and double-pane glazings in cooling dominated areas like Hong Kong. The overall energy performance of Low-E glazing and STPV glazing is very close to each other, which means that STPV glazing is quite energy-efficient. In Hong Kong, southwest is the best orientation for power generation for STPV windows and south is the optimum orientation for STPV window installation in terms of achieving the best overall energy performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-518
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2016


  • Comparative study
  • Energy performance
  • Optimum orientation
  • Semi-transparent photovoltaic (STPV) window

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Cite this