Solar panels that can imitate a brick surface or display a flower arrangement to beautify any facade, while ensuring optimal performance. This is what a Dutch team has just achieved with the presentation of Dutch Solar, a solution that combines aesthetics and ease of use with high quality solar technology. “Like Dutch design”, assure its promoters.
The pictures with some examples of how far this innovation can go speak for themselves. Dutch Solar puts solar energy a step closer to the absolute “Freedom of design”, as they argue from Dutch Center for Energy Research (ECN). Together with him, UNStudio, Design Innovation Group, facade construction company Aldowa, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and printing company TS Visual worked on this new solution.
The sum of this last signature was the key, since it is precisely the printing technique that allows these panels to approach total flexibility in terms of aesthetics. Thus, the desired image for the solar installation of a facade is printed in a personalized way and from an algorithm that is the one that guarantees that the panels offer the desired optical effect, with a minimum coverage that does not limit entry of light and, with it, reduce the efficiency of the panels.
Because, if aesthetics was a maxim, the goal of this group of institutions and companies was offer a technology that combines appearance, performance and durability. And, from what they claim, they succeeded. “We’ve found the sweet spot, with 30% color printing and a guaranteed 80% yield.”explains ECN researcher John van Roosmalen.
To find this exact point of harmony, it was necessary to incorporate the back contact technology, with which the background was obtained. “perfect” for printing and for integrating photovoltaic cells. This technology, which also provided flexibility in dimensions and production, has improved the performance of this solution by 5 to 10% compared to standard cells.
In addition to not lagging behind other market proposals in terms of performance, this panel also does not do so in durability, because the useful life of this innovation (and color fastness) is estimated at twenty years.
To all of the above is added the flexibility of the pattern you want to display on their panels, but also their size and even the type of solar cells to use. In this sense, the technology of Dutch Solar applies to monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon cells as well as thin film cells.
With a size for the modules that is 120 × 90 centimeters, slightly below the size of conventional panels, its promoters claim that they add even more flexibility. “It aligns (the module) with standard construction industry dimensions, which are multiples of 30 centimeters.”, they assure. Between this and the metal case based on back contact technology, this solution is achievable for a multitude of sizes and for a wide variety of applications.
“Facades and annexes of facades; acoustic barriers on highways or roads, awnings … “. These are some of the possible outputs for these solar modules which offer an additional and, of course, more aesthetically free alternative for architects and builders.
More information in ECN.