© A. Heller, Architektur-Institut Leipzig (ai: L)

the SOLAR.shell project has designed photovoltaic elements integrated into the facades of buildings, which can generate up to 50% more solar energy than modules mounted perpendicular to the walls.

The future of photovoltaic energy is integration into buildings. Rooftops and rooftops are only the first place you think of when you want to integrate solar technology into buildings, but they’re not the only usable areas. In fact, solar facades are an equally useful way to bring photovoltaic panels closer to people and home consumption.

Solar facades take advantage of a space that would not be used otherwise and, on the other hand, the energy they generate can supplement the residential energy supply. Currently, however, these systems are hardly used, as the sun usually hits facades at an unfavorable angle and the elements themselves tend not to be aesthetically appealing.

© Fraunhofer IMWS

The crucial point for the so-called photovoltaic integrated in buildings (BIPV) this is, therefore, design. As part of the SOLAR.shell project, researchers from the Fraunhofer Center for CSP Silicon Photovoltaics in Halle and architects from the University of Applied Sciences in Leipzig demonstrated which design can optimize solar facades. In detail, they presented construction elements that can increase efficiency by 50% compared to more “traditional” installations.

The team’s results were presented on a 2 × 3 meter prototype. The system was made with aluminum composite modules, with a total of nine integrated solar panels, each with a precise tilt.

The photovoltaic elements integrated into this facade provide up to 50% more solar energy than the modules mounted perpendicular to the facades of buildings. In addition, the facade provides visual appeal.

Sebastian Schindler, project manager at Fraunhofer CSP.

In cooperation with the HTWK Leipzig and the Technical University of Dresden, German scientists have also developed suitable options for the integration of photovoltaic elements in concrete facades, more particularly in facades made of “carbon concrete composite. “. It is reinforced concrete whose stability is derived from carbon fibers instead of steel.

At Fraunhofer CSP, we analyze how photovoltaic panels can best be mounted on this type of carbon concrete facade.

Sebastian Schindler.

The group has devised three different concepts and methods to create solar facades. Solar modules: they can be integrated directly into concrete sections, laminated or glued to concrete slabs. Modules can also be attached to concrete slabs using hanger bolts, screw connections or other means, making it easy to remove for maintenance or repair.

We have been able to demonstrate that all mounting options are technically feasible.

More information: www.fraunhofer.de