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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.

Smart semi-transparent energy generating PV windows

A demonstration façade, composed of transparent PV windows produced by Sunpartner Technologies, has recently been created in the framework of the Interreg project “PV OpMaat”. In this project, a consortium of companies among which Eigenergie.net, NBArchitecten, TGM, Insulation Solutions and Isover work together with SEAC and Solliance on innovative PV solutions for the building industry. The window glass is coated with CIGS, a widely-used thin film PV material. In order to make the window transparent, the CIGS material has been structured with tiny holes, small enough to guarantee a uniform appearance to the human eye.

This technique allows to make very transparent and uniform window glass while still capturing a substantial part of the incident light to generate electricity. The density and the size of the holes also allow to tune the level of transparency.

PV windows are ideal for replacing the traditional glass modules in façades of office buildings. As such they can make a substantial contribution to the energy balance of such office buildings without changing the appearance of the building and without hampering the view from within the building.

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

Colored and textured PV panels: a new approach for aesthetic façade PV applications

Regulations for the energy performance of buildings in Europe are becoming more demanding. This requires innovative approaches for integration of solar energy in the building skin. At the same time, especially for façades, the aesthetic appearance is crucial and the architectural demands are posing a challenge for PV developers.

The prototype demonstrator was built within the Interreg project “PV OpMaat”. The aim of this project is to produce power generating photovoltaic materials, based on newly developed production methods, and tailored in a way that they can be optimally integrated in building elements. In this context, a novel prototype PV façade was constructed at SolarBEAT, the outdoor field testing facility of SEAC. This research evaluates how various textures and colors affect the performance of c-Si and CIGS PV modules and assesses different coloring techniques in order to obtain aesthetically the best possible result.

Solar Magazine also covered the inauguration of the demonstrator with an insightful interview given by our commercial project partners: Eigen Energie, TGM and NBArchitecten, which can be found here.

Results regarding the performance of the prototype demonstrator will be presented in the upcoming EU PVSEC conference taking place in September 2018 in Brussels. For more information about the “PV OpMaat” project click here and for more solar news follow us on LinkedIn by clicking here.

ZigZagSolar façade installed in Sittard

This month the installation of a creative ZigZagSolar façade was completed on an apartment building in Sittard. The concept enables in an original way to harvest solar energy and at the same time have full aesthetic freedom. The ZigZagSolar concept is developed by WallVision with the support of SEAC. It went through extensive field testing at SolarBEAT for more than two years. ZigZagSolar is an architectural façade concept which uses a combination of a PV system tilted towards the sun and decorative panels facing the observer. The PV panels remain hidden while the decorative panels can be designed according to the architectural requirements.

The ZigZagSolar installation in Sittard covers 400m2 of the façade, is oriented South and will deliver 30,000 kWh/year in total. Partial shading effects have been tackled by a smart electrical design. As a follow-up Wallvision and SEAC are working on solutions which can further improve the yield of the ZigZagSolar façade application.

More details regarding the ZigZagSolar demo tested at SolarBEAT can be found here. For more solar news follow us on LinkedIn by clicking here.

Invisible solar collectors can even be red or white

The first demonstration of the novel façade solar thermal collectors of the FITS4E project has been installed at the outdoor testing location SolarBEAT. The project aims to demonstrate façade panels with an invisible thermal solar collector for increased energy harvesting. ‘FITS4E’ focusses at application development, system design, performance testing, demonstration and dissemination. The performance of the panel will be tested for a full year at the outdoor testing facility of SEAC. TNO is the project leader, Emergo is responsible for developing the collector and façade element and AkzoNobel for the smart coating.

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