Solar film

Solar Film

Energy Conservation Solar film (Window Film) applied to windows helps reduce energy costs. Some solar film has enhanced insulating properties so reducing heating costs in the Winter as well as reducing air conditioning costs in the Summer.

window film

heat reflective

Air conditioning is surprisingly expensive. It costs between 3 and 4 times more to reduce the temperature of a building by one degree than it does to raise it by the same amount. Solar film is part of the answer. It reduces the amount of heat that has to be extracted. Payback time depends on the amount of sunlight energy the building traps, the type of film you install, the fuel costs, the type of glass, cost of installation, and other considerations. Obviously the costs of installing solar film onto the type of glass structure we illustrate above will be many times the costs of installing it on the windows of a domestic residence. Payback time is however generally good. Two to four years is not uncommon and sometimes solar film, can pay for itself in as little as six months. Comfort Solar film does more that just save money. It improves occupant comfort by reducing excessive heat and excessive glare from sunlight, and can improve productivity in offices and other workplaces. Solar film has an important part to pay in reducing a building’s carbon footprint. Some solar films have low internal reflective properties and can improve visibility when looking out at night.

window film

window film being fitted to a conservatory

Solar Film and Conservatories Solar film is particularly valuable for conservatories and helps level out the conservatory’s internal temperatures all year round. Solar film is far cheaper than conservatory roof blinds, expensive solar shades, and traditional solar laminates, let alone expensive air conditioning and climate control and can make the conservatory usable in the Winter months by keeping it warmer. Apart from all its other advantages solar film can filter out harmful UV rays and protect and encourage plant and flower propagation making the conservatory a viable growing environment even when it’s very hot. It also prevents the sunlight fading the furniture and flooring. Solar Film application

window film

Clean the glass. spray the film with water. Apply the film. Use a squeegee to remove the bubbles. Trim with a sharp knife.

Solar film fits electrostatically to the windows and is easy to remove leaving no permanent marks but there is some skill (although not a special one) in applying it. You should be aware however that electrostatic fitting does not work well with plastic windows. When ordering it may be advisable to check with the solar film supplier whether they have a more suitable product for the type of window to which you are applying it. Conservatory windows are sometimes made of polycarbonate. If you buy the solar film from a recognised supplier (there are many trading on the Internet) you will receive detailed instructions on how to apply it but we recommend some extra tips 

  • Thicker solar films can feel like a plastic table cloth. If so it helps to wet the solar film thoroughly with water and before applying spray the glass with a very dilute solution of detergent. It will help you move the solar film around on the glass
  • The main challenge is to cut the solar film to make it fit exactly. It can be fiddly to cut the edges off the film when it’s on the window panes and if you’ve obviously tried to make it fit but failed it will show

Some readers say they have overcome this difficulty by fitting the solar film with a deliberate gap around the edge to try to make it look as if the gap is a deliberate feature. This device does work better than an obviously ill fitting film and the film still serves the greater part of its light exclusion purpose. Much however depends on the type of windows you have and how accessible they are for you to do the fitting

  • It might also help to have a squeegee blade. Solar films come with some basic tools but readers have observed that the devices for squeezing out the air bubbles are a little small and basic. To be fair this is not unreasonable. It’s not practicable for the solar film manufacturer to give quality tools which are only likely to be used once, free with a relatively cheap product

Solar Film and Minimalist decor If you gave a small property and/or are keen on minimalist decor solar film can be a considerable asset. In particular if you live in an elevated flat with an East or South East facing bathroom or kitchen which you find intolerably bright in the morning, you can if need be obtain solar film tinted as dark as limousine windows avoiding the need for blinds let alone curtains. Take care however to check whether people can see in when the lights are on. A variation on solar film is one which prevents people seeing in but allowing you to still see out. Again however, take care. The film can work in reverse at night. You may not be able see out but the world may be observing you.

window film

Solar photovoltaic film

Photovoltaic Solar Film A photovoltaic solar film generates electricity like a solar panel. It’s made by depositing thin layers of photovoltaic materials on to a substrate. The resultant photovoltaic solar film is very thin Originally this type of solar film was used in hand held light powered calculators but is now sufficiently developed to work on buildings. Photovoltaic solar film is now widely expected to be the future of photovoltaics and is expected to surpass solar panels in use in due course Solar Film as part of integrated photovoltaics Solar film can either be applied onto a completed roof, or built into the roof cover itself. It retains a considerable advantage over solar panels insofar as the solar film is much lighter and is not subject to wind lifting. Photovoltaic solar film, panels can therefore be placed on glass roofs and if the roof itself is sufficiently strong can be walked on.

Thin film laminated solar film being installed.

As the technology develops Building Integrated Photovoltaics will make it practicable for semi transparent photovoltaic solar film, functioning as tinted glass, to be applied to the windows. It will work in the same way as the inert solar film presently available but generate photovoltaic electricity at the same time. Cost of Photovoltaic Solar Film Efficiency of thin photovoltaic solar film is much lower than panels. In recent years, costs of the advanced technology has fallen, but photovoltaic solar film is still expensive. The cost of the technology will no doubt come down much further as the use of photovoltaic solar film becomes more widespread. Very recently China has taken has shown a serious interest in manufacture of solar panels and photovoltaic solar film and has been buying up the Western patents. There is therefore a prospect of significant price reductions. China is exceptionally good at reducing manufacturing costs and has a large internal market of its own to work from.