Prefab PVT roof elements operational at SolarBEAT

Within the innovation project “PVT inSHaPe”, the company Solartech installed two prefab PVT elements on the SEAC  research facility SolarBEAT. These PVT elements generate both solar heat and solar electricity from the same roof area. In the PVT inSHaPe project, we investigate the use of these elements in combination with a heat pump for space heating and domestic hot water. The goal is to generate options for realizing (near) zero energy buildings. In total three different PVT systems will be built and their performance will be evaluated.

The roof elements are prefab produced in the factory, minimizing the installation time on the roof. In this concept, the PVT system and roof isolation are part of a single constructive element. These elements are put in place using a crane.

More information about the project can be found here. 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, 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.

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, and BAM Wonen.

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

Voorbereidingen Solar Highways in volle gang

Deze zomer wordt bij Uden langs de A50 een innovatief bifaciaal zonne-energie opwekkend geluidsscherm gebouwd. Voor de realisatie van dit project, Solar Highways, zijn Rijkswaterstaat en opdrachtnemer Heijmans volop bezig met het afronden van onderzoeken, het aanvragen van de omgevingsvergunning en het bouwrijp maken van de locatie.

Na oplevering wordt gedurende 18 maanden de energieopbrengst van het zonnegeluidscherm nauwkeurig gemeten door Solar Energy Application Centre (SEAC). Daarvoor worden enkele proefvakken ingericht met verschillende schoonmaakregimes. De uitkomsten worden gebruikt om in de toekomst een goede inschatting te kunnen maken van de onderhoudsbehoefte, energieprestaties en financiële opbrengst van toekomstige zonnegeluidschermen.

Meer informatie over Solar Highways vindt u op en via de website van SEAC [Solar Highways project page].

Is it a good idea to make PV modules with 960 small cells?

At the SEAC outdoor research facility SolarBEAT a test program started aimed at special PV modules consisting of a large amount of small PV cells. The PV cells are down to 1/16th of the normal size. The idea behind it is that these modules perform much better in non-ideal situations in the built environment, where partial shading frequently occurs. This so called TESSERA concept is developed within the Scalable Shade Tolerant Module (SSTM) project, supported by the TKI Urban Energy. The project aims to determine the feasibility of the concept, based on the criteria of manufacturability, industrialization, lifetime and levelized cost of electricity (LCOE).

The new TESSERA modules undergo a 9 months test program in outdoor conditions. The field test consists of 6 full size TESSERA module prototypes connected to micro inverters from Heliox. As a comparison on the same location are two reference systems with standard PV modules:  with a string inverter and with micro inverters. All three systems in the test setup are installed at SolarBEAT, the outdoor test facility of SEAC. SEAC performs system performance analysis, shading experiments, components efficiency calculations and failure analysis.

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

HRsolar wint Innovation Award 2018 voor duurzame warmte

Vanochtend is op de beurs Duurzaam Verwarmd de Innovation Award 2018 uitgereikt aan HRsolar voor hun revolutionaire dunne esthetische zonthermische collector genaamd Nero. Zonthermische collectoren zijn over het algemeen te groot en te dik om makkelijk naast PV panelen te integreren in een dak. De nieuwe Nero collector heeft de dikte en grootte van een PV paneel met frame. HRsolar heeft in januari de nieuwe productielijn voor de Nero collector geopend. De collector is mede ontwikkeld binnen het TKI project Building STeP, waarin samen met SCX Solar en met onderzoekspartners TU/e en SEAC een multifunctioneel geïntegreerd dak is ontwikkeld. Ronald van der Ende “Zonder SEAC en TU/e hadden we dit niet kunnen doen”. Momenteel loopt een outdoor onderzoek op SEAC’s meetlocatie SolarBEAT.

Onderschrift foto:
Wiep Folkerts (directeur SEAC) en Ronald van der Ende (directeur HRsolar) voor de Nero collector.

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.

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.

Ever wondered about the cost of cleaning a solar PV system?

Soiling can be a substantial loss factor for PV installations. Cleaning the solar system is the most common solution to mitigate soiling losses, but it comes with a cost…

Marco Cappa, a graduate student at SEAC from the TU/e, studied the cost of cleaning PV systems. This study was performed in the framework of the project “Anti-Soiling and PV”. The graph presented above shows the dependence between the cleaning cost and PV system size. The curve has been derived from data provided by more than 20 stakeholders among which: solar cleaning services, solar developers, monitoring companies and PV system operators. The cleaning cost per kWp decreases sharply with the size of the plant, due to economies of scale.

This study is an important input for the business case analysis for anti-soiling coatings for PV modules.   The study will be presented in the upcoming EU PVSEC conference taking place in September 2018 in Brussels. For more information about the “Anti-Soiling and PV” project click here and for more solar news follow us on LinkedIn by clicking here.

SEAC presents a new market survey of PVT products

The market for Photovoltaic-Thermal (PVT) systems is growing. And so is the number of PVT module suppliers. In a recent market survey SEAC found 54 different PVT module types that are currently being sold. 11 of these originate from the Netherlands. Uncovered flat plate PVT collectors make up roughly 75% of the product portfolio.

SEAC identified opportunities and barriers for PVT, based on interviews with 28 stakeholders  and on literature review. The main market opportunity for PVT are applications where the available roof area is the limiting factor. Then PVT offers the highest total energy harvesting (heat plus electricity).

Another market opportunity is a combination of PVT with heat pumps and the possibility to achieve a (near) zero energy building with these technologies.  Compared to side by side PV and thermal modules, the more unified appearance of PVT offers a more aesthetic solution. The largest barrier for PVT applications is the complexity of the system design and its installation. Furthermore, the high upfront costs and the lack of standardization were mentioned as barriers.

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