Trendsetting photovoltaic solutions at the international “Solar Decathlon Europe”
Building of the future with roof-integrated photovoltaics
“Ecolar” plus-energy home with solar charging station
Sunways AG is supporting students of the Konstanz University of Applied Sciences (HTWG) as a premium sponsor at the international “Solar Decathlon Europe 2012” architectural competition. The Konstanz-based photovoltaic specialist supplied anthracite-coloured design solar cells and solar inverters for the „Ecolar“ plus-energy home and was on hand during the two-year planning and construction phase to provide expert assistance.
The “Solar Decathlon Europe” is held every two years by the Spanish government and aims to promote sustainable architectural concepts. The most important prerequisite for competitors: buildings must generate sufficient solar energy to meet all their energy needs. Twenty university teams from around the world will be presenting their entries at this year’s final in Madrid. The two-week-long exhibition is expected to attract an estimated 600,000 visitors.
This isn’t the first time that Sunways has got involved. In 2010, Sunways supported the HFT Stuttgart with its project entitled “Home+”, which won third place in the overall rankings and included golden Sunways design solar cells in the building’s facade. “Solar technology will play an important role in the energy-efficient construction of the future. There is enormous potential for a form of energy generation that is both eco-friendly and aesthetic just waiting to be tapped in roofs and facades. Sunways is a pioneer in the field of building-integrated photovoltaics. We were therefore happy to contribute our products and many years of experience to the project,” explains Dr. Harald F. Schäfer, spokesman for Sunways AG.
All in all, the “Ecolar” house produces more energy than it consumes. The main energy source is the timber structure’s 104-square-metre flat roof, which contains solar glass modules with an output of 12.7 kilowatts peak (kWp). Sunways once again teamed up with Austrian glass construction specialist Ertex Solartechnik GmbH to produce the custom products, each of which measures approximately 4x1 metres. The modules are equipped with Sunways solar cells in the company’s new anthracite shade, which was developed specifically for the project. While normal solar cells are used above the building’s residential units, solar glass modules with semi-transparent solar cells were installed over the two open areas of the building to create canopies. Approximately seven percent of sunlight penetrates the solar cells through slots. As a result, the multifunctional solar modules provide a weather and sun shield as well as generating electricity. For a consistent look, the solar cells in the solar modules have a perforated white film finish.
In addition to photovoltaics, the building’s energy system includes intelligent insulation made from one-hundred-percent untreated natural materials and a geothermal heat pump. One of the outdoor areas also has a special feature in terms of sustainability: excess energy from the solar system can be fed directly to the building’s own solar charging station to power an electric car.