Innovative BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaics*) will further help architects to design energy harvesting, zero emission buildings to meet worldwide green directives to reduce carbon emissions.
Heliatek GmbH, a global leader in manufacturing high-end Solar Films, has signed a joint development agreement with AGC Glass Europe, European branch of AGC (the world's largest producer of flat glass), already active in traditional BIPV. The agreement is focused on researching and developing the integration of glass and Solar Films, targeting the delivery of integrated solutions for the glass envelope of buildings.
Heliatek's Solar Films are fabricated in a roll-to-roll process. Their integration in flat glass sheets will enable the entire glass façades of buildings to become highly efficient, solar energy harvesters. This new BIPV solution will provide cost-effective yet significant energy harvesting to reduce a building's carbon footprint combined with a discrete, aesthetically-pleasing, visual appearance.
Heliatek's award-winning, Solar Films are ideally suited to this application because of their ability to be manufactured in both opaque and semi-transparent versions in a variety of colors. The films are ultra-light, ultra-thin and highly efficient under real world conditions, thanks to three unique features. They harvest the sun's energy at peak efficiency for longer daytime periods than traditional solar technologies: from full sun down to a tenth of full sun, such as on a cloudy day. In addition, they can operate efficiently in any orientation, even when not directly facing the sun and only receiving indirect or diffused light. Finally, their performance remains stable up to 80°C.
Thibaud Le Séguillon, CEO of Heliatek, explains: "Once developed, this solution will open up all vertical glass surfaces, both windows and opaque ones. The vertical building walls offer a much larger installation area than roof tops that are the focus of today's solar building installations, plus there are no additional installations costs unlike conventional PV panels. The many innovative advantages of the AGC/Heliatek glass solar façade solution will make it the application of choice for many architects."
Marc Van Den Neste, Chief Technology Officer of AGC Glass Europe, adds: "This agreement fits in perfectly with our strategy of providing affordable and environment-friendly glass solutions to our customers, the building industry and the community at large. I am confident that this solution will open up new prospects for creativity and energy efficiency to architects and designers."
Alexander Valenzuela, Architect and Vice President Marketing, Business and Product Development at Heliatek, concludes: "A key challenge for the glass industry lies in the integration of our Solar Films in to standard glass products. We understand and will meet the building industry requirements as well as the needs of the architects and end-users regarding reliability, life expectancy and return of investment."
* A BIPV system incorporates photovoltaics modules into the building envelope (roof, façade) and serves both as building envelope material and power generator.
Source and top image: AGC Glass
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