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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.

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.

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.

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.

ZigZagSolar pilot with flexible thin film PV

ZigZagSolar is an innovative façade BIPV application designed by Wallvision BV. It consists of tilted PV modules in combination with decorative panels. This layout allows for an optimal orientation of the PV modules, while they remain out of sight.

We created on the SEAC BIPV research facility SolarBEAT a new pilot in this concept, now for the first time using flexible thin film CIGS modules manufactured by Miasolé.

A potential advantage of the Miasolé modules in this application is that the layout of the PV cells make the performance less susceptible to inhomogeneous irradiance. Also the lower weight and the ease of handling and mounting are advantages.

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

SolarBEAT extended to 9 measurement locations

SolarBEAT is the unique SEAC facility for BIPV and PVT system research. Since its start in 2014, 15 distinct projects have been executed here.

The interest for BIPV and PVT systems from supplier companies and their customers is growing substantially. Therefore SEAC now extended the SolarBEAT facility to enable the simultaneous accommodation of 9 independent projects.

The new positions will be fully operational from April 2017 onwards.

Are you interested in performance research for your solar PV or solar heat applications? Please contact us here.