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Aesthetic styling of colored thin film PV façades

From the first of January 2020 onwards, all new buildings in the Netherlands need to meet the so called  “Near Zero Energy Buildings” regulation. Buildings need to produce a large fraction of their consumed energy. Installation of a PV system is an obvious choice. However, this can be challenging for multiple-floor buildings, as the available surface on the roof is small in relation to the floor surface. A solution can be to install PV panels in the façade.

Up to now the choice for architects for different types of PV-panels in terms of color and shape  was rather limited.  Within the framework of the “PV OpMaat” project, an innovative concept of colored PV panels for facades has been developed. Thin film CIGS cells have been embedded within a composite structure. This lightweight PV panel opens up a broad range of new coloring possibilities. Performance monitoring of these modules has recently started on SEAC’s outdoor test facility SolarBEAT. The work is done in cooperation with Studio Solarix and Solliance.

For more information regarding the “PV OpMaat” project click here and for more solar news follow us on LinkedIn by clicking here.

Solar façade makes this social housing project energy neutral !

The solar façade for a social housing apartment building in Best (Noord Brabant) has been finalized. The so called “de Willem en de Zwijger” are among the first zero-energy apartment complexes in The Netherlands. The five floors high, 48 apartment twin buildings comprise an innovative, energy efficient, affordable and aesthetically pleasing alternative to conventional social housing. The façade is cladded with black thin-film solar panels CIGS technology). This is an outstanding example of building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). The additional investment cost for achieving zero-energy performance in this concept is only 20%.

The project is a collaboration of the housing corporation ‘thuis, NBArchitecten, EigenEnergie.net and BAM Wonen.

SEAC is closely cooperating with NBArchitecten and EigenEnergie.net in the development of aesthetic colored façade PV elements for the BIPV sector. For more solar news follow us on LinkedIn by clicking here.

A thinner solar thermal collector for building integration with PV

Aesthetic integration of solar energy products in the roofs of dwellings is important to achieve a good social acceptance and a high market potential. Several solutions for building integrated PV (BIPV) are available on the market, however, a very limited number of solutions for integration of covered solar thermal collectors are available. Currently, covered solar thermal collectors are much thicker and often much larger than PV modules, which complicates aesthetic integration of both PV and solar thermal collectors in the same roof.

Within the project Building STeP the company HRsolar developed a solar thermal collector with the same dimensions and thickness as a framed PV module. A multifunctional demonstrator roof with this technology has now been built on the SEAC research facility SolarBEAT. Here PV modules and a roof window are integrated in the same multifunctional roof concept by the company SCX Solar. SEAC and the TU/e are performing the analysis of the thermal and electrical performance for typical Dutch roofs, that may also include shading effects by e.g. dormers.

For more information about the project click here and for more solar news follow us on LinkedIn by clicking here.

Discover the booming Dutch solar energy sector by watching this inspiring video!

In 2017, the Netherlands achieved a new milestone reaching an installed PV capacity of 2.5 GWp. To discover the exponentially growing Dutch solar energy sector, watch the inspiring video by clicking here. For further acceleration of the growth towards 40 to 50 GWp in 2030, innovation in PV systems and applications remains crucial.

We at SEAC are highly motivated to expand our contribution, working together with companies and universities in innovation projects for the solar energy system of tomorrow. We believe that innovation is crucial on all SEAC’s platforms of research and consultancy: (1) solar energy in buildings (BIPV, solar thermal and PVT), (2) PV integration in the infrastructure, (3) floating PV plants and (4) PV in the energy system. This is how we make solar energy more profitable, more effective and more powerful.

For more information about SEAC’s activities visit our website by clicking here.

Watch this video to discover the effect of shading on solar roofs and what can you do about it!

Watch the informative video by clicking here.

Shading is a major loss factor for PV systems on roofs. Shadow can result from trees, poles, dormers, chimneys or nearby high-rise buildings. In this video these effects on the I-V and P-V curves of the PV modules are presented in a straightforward way. The video is a result of one of the SEAC experiments on mitigation of shading effects on PV systems.

This video will make you discover Solar Energy innovations at SolarBEAT!

You can watch the video of SolarBEAT by clicking here.

Solar Building Elements Application Test site (SolarBEAT), is the name of SEAC’s outdoor research facility in the field of BIPV(T) where independent measurements and innovative research studies in the field of solar PV and solar thermal energy are conducted. It is a collaboration between SEAC and the TU/e and is situated on the Vertigo building of TU/e. More information about SolarBEAT can be found here.

In case you are interested in research, development, or innovation at SolarBEAT, please contact us!

SEAC’s field testing facility SolarBEAT is fully booked!

Dutch companies are rapidly bringing new building integrated solar systems to the market. This explains the increasing need for high quality performance research on such systems. SEAC works in the outdoor test facility SolarBEAT fully based on IEC-61724 norms.

To support these field testing needs, SEAC developed a brand new pyranometer calibration setup. It comprises of an adjustable rack fitted with 7 pyranometer holders facing due south. The calibration is achieved with the help of a secondary standard robust pyranometer placed in the middle position, which is sent for calibration every year, according to the world standard. Currently there are 9 active test fields ran by SEAC, for which 19 pyranometers are used in total. These pyranometers are calibrated annually.

Solar Building Elements Application Test site, in short SolarBEAT, is the name of SEAC’s outdoor research facility in the field of BIPV(T) where independent measurements and innovative research studies in the field of solar PV and solar thermal energy are conducted. It is a collaboration between SEAC and the TU/e and is situated on the Vertigo building of TU/e.

More information about SolarBEAT can be found here. For more solar news follow us on LinkedIn by clicking here.

SEAC presents the BIPV Status Report 2017

SEAC and SUPSI presented the new version of the BIPV Status Report at the recent EU PVSEC conference in Amsterdam. The report provides a comprehensive insight into the status of building integrated solar energy in Europe. The report is a result of a long term cooperation between SUPSI in Switzerland and SEAC in The Netherlands. The previous version of the status report celebrated more than 100.000 downloads. This new report covers BIPV technology trends, BIPV pricing and products available in the market. In addition it contains some iconic BIPV case studies.

You can download the report by clicking here. For more solar news follow us on LinkedIn by clicking here.

Meet SEAC at the upcoming PVSEC conference in Amsterdam

The European PVSEC conference will be 25 – 29 September in Amsterdam. It is the largest international conference for photovoltaic research, technologies and applications.

An excellent occasion to learn more about the work of SEAC and get into contact with us. SEAC will be (co)presenting on various topics:

  • PV on landfills (6DO.12)
  • BIPV (6DO.10, 7DV.1)
  • Partial shading (6CO.13, 5BV.4)
  • Solar E-bike charging (6DO.10)
  • Solar Noise Barriers (6BV.3)
  • Concentrating PVT (4CV.4)

We hope to meet you in Amsterdam – at our poster presentations or after our oral presentations – to discuss results and exchange views!

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Watch the movie! The invisible damage caused by walking on PV modules.

BIPV modules (Building Integrated PhotoVoltaics) are often exposed to mechanical stress during installation. This is a result of transport, handling and installing solar panels in places that are difficult to access. Mechanical load may cause cracking of cells and induce a negative effect on the long term performance. Such stresses should be avoided as much as possible.

As part of the BIPVpod project, SEAC did a mechanical loading experiment to investigate the invisible damage caused by walking on crystalline silicon PV modules. We chose two different module designs: a conventional glass-foil module and a glass-glass based module. EL images of these modules under stress were taken, and a video was created to demonstrate the effects of walking on panels and the differences between the two module designs.

The results show that in these experiments the glass-glass PV modules performed substantially better and didn’t show any signs of micro-cracking, in contrast to the glass-foil based modules.

To watch the full EL video, click here. More information about the project can be found here.

For more solar news follow us on LinkedIn by clicking here.