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Old April 2nd, 2016, 08:06 PM   #1
mapece
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solar architecture

While solar energy is becoming more and more important, my impression is that from a aesthetic point of view the integration of panels most of the time is not exactly successful. Certainly I can't think of any building that can compare with the masterpieces of a Frank Lloyd Wright for instance. Ok, maybe Wright is a bit too extreme as example, but really I can't find solar architecture that I can think is truly great.
I understand that the technology involved has still a lot of limitations (color for instance) but is it really so difficult to build something that is efficient and aesthetically beautiful?
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Old April 2nd, 2016, 08:47 PM   #2
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Integration of photovoltaic panels in the structure of a building: two examples from Milan, Italy

UniCredit Pavilion completed
design: Michele De Lucchi Architects
see thread > http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1724201

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luchimi
Il Curvo / The Curved One U/C
design: Daniel Libeskind
see thread > http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1691015

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Old April 5th, 2016, 03:10 PM   #3
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Hey, funny that I stumbled across this thread now. I'm currently doing my Masters thesis on Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV), and I find it a fascinating subject.

As for the lack of proper integration, I think I can tell you why: Very few suppliers know how to do it properly. BIPV is an overlap between traditional building materials and electronics, which each have their own long-standing traditions and ways to do things. The electro business make solar panels, but know squat all about building materials and how to make good claddings. The construction business knows building materials, but have less sense for the electronics and requirements posed by solar panels. Temperature, for instance, is usually a non-issue for cladding materials, but high temperatures will severly impair the efficiency of a solar panel. Likewise, making a solar panel waterproof is no big deal, but making it so it waterproofs an underlying structure? That's considerably harder. And this is not even mentioning how little experience architects have with either field.

As such, there aren't many companies out there specializing in BIPV. As far as I have found, Belgian Issol is currently the company out there with the best understanding of all the aspects of BIPV; both the building and solar aspects. They employ architects and solar consultants to ensure the building has solar-optimized roofs/facades from the onset of the project. They also produce their own solar panels, custom-fit for each project. Yes, it comes at a price, but the result tends to be pretty good-looking. Have a look at some pictures off their references page (clicky!):

Drammen, Norway:


Ministry of Defense, Paris, France (currently under construction):


Bordeaux, France:


Perpignan, France:




This one is not Issol, but by Grieg Arkitekter, and is found in Os, Norway:

(Picture from oseana.no).

The latter is not "true" BIPV, as the solar panels don't work as a building skin. They're not meant to protect the underlying structure in any way, there is a separate wall/roof underneath that takes care of moisture and heat and such. Still, they undeniably constitute a vital part of the building's architectural expression.
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Old April 6th, 2016, 08:07 PM   #4
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thank you Kyll.Ing., very useful and interesting reply. I didn't even know that this was called BIPV. If you know other interesting examples I'm very interested.
I confess that the building made by Grieg Arkitekter seems to me the most pleasing compared to those built by Issol.
The Unicredit pavillion too is interesting.
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Old April 7th, 2016, 01:40 PM   #5
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thank you Kyll.Ing., very useful and interesting reply. I didn't even know that this was called BIPV. If you know other interesting examples I'm very interested.
The Swiss BIPV competence centre is a good place to start. They have a quite comprehensive list of BIPV projects in central Europe, listed by category and all. Here are some of my favourites from their database (use the right sidebar to browse categories):

"Sun ship", Freiburg, Germany


"Positive Energy House", Innenberg, Switzerland:


"Novartis Campus", Basel, Switzerland...


...whose PV installation is really only obvious when seen from the inside:


"Optic Technicum", St. Asaph, UK:


Riedel Recycling, Moens, Germany:


Stadio Bentegodi, Verona, Italy:


Ludesch Town Hall, Ludecsch, Austria:


And of course, the Swiss "Flagship" BIPV project, the Monte Rosa Hut:
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Old April 9th, 2016, 11:25 AM   #6
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Solar architecture is a great innovation. Already in many developed countries this new innovative way developers has been adapting for power and energy source.
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Old April 9th, 2016, 12:54 PM   #7
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I like the pyramidal Positive energy house above! Anyway as I've said in the first post it seems it's really hard to avoid that electric blue of the panels, that is a color that often doesn't merge at all with the rest of the building and the environment.
I've seen that there are panels (or even tiles) made in other more natural colors



but the price at the moment seems to be a great drop in efficiency.
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Old November 2nd, 2016, 12:54 AM   #8
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It seems that Elon Musk is going in the right direction
http://fortune.com/2016/10/28/tesla-...attery/http://
http://www.teslarati.com/teslas-camo...led-us/http://






probably this is not great architecture, but at least this kind of roof looks better and more integrated than the usual solar panels.
The one in the first picture in particular looks like a nice normal roof.
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Old November 2nd, 2016, 06:01 PM   #9
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the future will be solar architecture
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Old November 3rd, 2016, 01:49 AM   #10
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The one in the first picture in particular looks like a nice normal roof.
Nice normal roof, but I'm not sure how good a solar roof it is. Dormers create shade (as seen in the picture, even), and partial shading of a solar cell array creates mismatch effects, which play havoc with the efficiency of the panels at the very least, and risk destroying them in a worst case scenario.

Still, good to see Tesla in this segment, if only for the publicity it'll bring to the concept. I mean, established suppliers such as Heda Solar or SolarCentury sure know what they're doing, but name-dropping them during investor meetings won't exactly open many wallets. But mention that Tesla is in the race, that's enough to make builders consider solar tiles for their next project, or awaken the curiosity in architects. A similar effect is seen already for "Powerwalls", where Tesla is far from the only supplier, but the mere fact that they have a product has brought attention to the entire concept of localized energy storage.
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Old November 4th, 2016, 12:11 AM   #11
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Nice normal roof, but I'm not sure how good a solar roof it is. Dormers create shade (as seen in the picture, even), and partial shading of a solar cell array creates mismatch effects, which play havoc with the efficiency of the panels at the very least, and risk destroying them in a worst case scenario.
really? You knows the technical aspects way better than me, anyway for what I've read they have tried to make a very resistant, more than a normal roof so I don't know. Anyway I'd be curious to read something about the efficiency compared to normal solar panels.

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Still, good to see Tesla in this segment, if only for the publicity it'll bring to the concept. I mean, established suppliers such as Heda Solar or SolarCentury sure know what they're doing, but name-dropping them during investor meetings won't exactly open many wallets. But mention that Tesla is in the race, that's enough to make builders consider solar tiles for their next project, or awaken the curiosity in architects. A similar effect is seen already for "Powerwalls", where Tesla is far from the only supplier, but the mere fact that they have a product has brought attention to the entire concept of localized energy storage.
besides that, there's to say that Musk is trying to look at the bigger picture, with the roof, the powerwalls, the electric cars and I have a lot of admiration for what he's doing.
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Old November 4th, 2016, 01:38 AM   #12
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really? You knows the technical aspects way better than me, anyway for what I've read they have tried to make a very resistant, more than a normal roof so I don't know.
Basically, a solar array is dependant on things staying in balance. Every cell generating an equal amount of power, keeping the same temperature, and carrying an equal amount of current. Throw that balance off, and mismatch effects will ruin the production in the short term, and may cause thermal runaway problems in the longer run.

The problem isn't the mechanical resistance of the tiles, but the long-term integrity of the semiconductor wafers. A solar panel can be "destroyed" by thermal effects, but still function excellently as a roof tile. My background is in civil rather than electrical engineering, but as far as I understand, a shaded PV cell will have a different conductivity than one lying in the sun. If some cells lie in the sun and some in the shade, and they're all serially connected, the shaded cells will either draw a higher or a lower current than the unshaded ones (I can't remember exactly which), causing a build-up of heat in certain cells. These thermal effects can cause the laminate to fail (creating air bubbles in the foil between the cells and the glass) or even burn off electrical conductors, effectively "killing" the cell. Of course, none of this will break the tile itself (unless there is enough heat to start a fire), so your roof will still remain just as weather-tight. It just won't generate nearly as much electricity, and the production drop can be pretty drastic if even a single cell is destroyed.

There are work-arounds to prevent damage, but they usually work by cutting the current as soon as imbalance occurs. So a roof with a lot of partial shading will find itself operating under sub-optimal conditions way more often than it needs to.
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Old November 5th, 2016, 12:14 AM   #13
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Powerwall 2 & Solar Roof Launch

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Old November 5th, 2016, 12:15 AM   #14
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Old November 5th, 2016, 12:38 AM   #15
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british museum

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/F...02_1120026.jpg

[IMG]http://*************************/images/stories/london/british_museum_aw120910_4tb.jpg[/IMG]
http://*************************/lon...useum-building
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Old November 22nd, 2016, 12:58 PM   #16
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amazing forum..very informative
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Old November 27th, 2016, 02:02 AM   #17
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Tesla Gigafactory (under construction):


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