Sarah Hall's name is no stranger to the stained glass world. I happened to be in Toronto this last Thursday when she spoke at the Ontario College of Art and Design, a collaboration with the Ontario Crafts Counsel as part of their "craft talk" series.
It was an exceptional presentation. The possibility for photovoltaics is really opening up, especially as the world needs to become more energy conscious and efficient.
If simple solar panels - a sample similar to what Canadian Tire sells - are being used to power computers and telecommunications even in the most remote and hostile environments - because the energy of the sun is free and available across all political borders, image what a well thought out design and purposeful placement in an architectural setting could do!
This is more than just windows, entire skins of buildings could be glass covered. Re-think an office tower, which is mostly glass to begin with. Southern exposures could potentially provide substantial energy savings to the building - lighting interiors, stairwells, foyers and the like. The photovolyaic cells becoming part of the overall pattern and design.
Even a simple school's photovolyaic window installation cost less than 1% of the entire project. This recent installation not only demonstrates to the student body, everyday, the magic of the sun, but will have an impact on the buildings energy requirements long into the future.
I think it would be prudent for all stained glass artists to start familiarizing themselves with this amazing technology. I believe there is a podcast of this presentation available, either through the OCAD or the OCC. Will let you know when it's up and running.