Are solar curtains a new gadget or just old fashioned common sense?
Well, that depends on which type of these curtains you're talking about.
There are actually two different variations of solar energy curtains and they each attempt to accomplish very different things.
The first type of curtain takes advantage of a pretty simple idea. It uses a reflective material to keep sunlight from entering your home and heating things up like a solar oven.
These curtains can make it look like your windows have been covered in tin foil or some other 'space-age' material (as the infomercials say).
Although this might not be exactly the look you're going for, you should be able to save some money on air conditioning costs. The idea is that the shiny material reflects the sun's light so it doesn't get the chance to enter your home and get converted into heat energy.
Less heat in your home means that your air conditioner won't have to run as often and you'll save money on your electric bill.
It is also claimed that these curtains can prevent heat loss during winter. This is accomplished by reversing the curtain so the heat reflects back in and doesn't escape from your house.
These shiny solar curtains may not be as exciting as a new solar electric array on your roof but here are two things they have going for them:
Overall, these curtains seem like a cost-effective way to add a little energy efficiency to your home.
Are you looking for a more high-tech solar power curtain that won't just save you energy but will actually produce power? Well in that case you should check out the curtains developed by Konarka Technologies and Arch Aluminum And Glass.
These 'curtains' cover the entire side of a building with plastic solar film encased in glass. One installation is expected to provide 1.5 kW of power to a facility and the panels have an efficiency level of about 3 percent.
Another version of curtains that produce solar power consist of flexible materials that convert sunlight into power that can be stored in built-in batteries. These energy-harvesting textiles are an exciting area of solar power and definitely something to keep an eye on.
Although these high-tech variations of solar curtains sound like a pretty cool idea, don't think you'll be finding them on Amazon for $3.49 (at least not for a few years, anyway).