Sharp announced a see-through solar energy panel today, designed for balcony railings, eaves, and windows. The transparent panels are constructed from laminated glass infused with photovoltaic cells and can be used to replace glass and provide shading at the same time. The panel delivers a solar power conversion efficiency of 6.8% and a maximum output of 95 watts per panel. Compared to the 10%-20% efficiency standard of normal solar panels, the transparent version loses quite a bit efficiency but will be a great option for those looking to utilize commonly overlooked space (e.g. windows) for solar panel placement. Panel sizes are 4 ½ feet by 3.2 feet. The module also acts as a heat shield.
The semi-transparent solar panel launches in Japan on October 1, 2012. No release date given for the United States.