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Photovoltaic art glass delivers beauty, electricity

A new branch library that opened in San Jose, California, this week sports an art glass window installation that is also a solar-power generator.

Designed by artist Lynn Goodpasture, the installation at the Pearl Avenue Branch Library breaks new ground in the US, making San Jose the only city with a permanent public art piece “that combines photovoltaic cells and art glass in an architectural application,” according to officials.

The four multi-hued and multi-lingually inscribed panels of art glass anchor an exterior corner of the library while generating electricity that powers an interior light engraved with a repeated message in cuneiform: “We are all one.”

The PV aspect of the glass art was made possible with the help of Peters Glass Studios, an architectural art glass fabricator based in Germany. The company airbrushed Goodpasture’s designs onto glass, then combined it with a double layer of glass laminated with photovoltaic cells.

The energy-generating artwork also melds well with San Jose’s Green Vision, which aims — among other things — to obtain all the city’s electricity from clean, renewable sources within 15 years.

Clean, green and artsy? Not bad!

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