Transparent Solar Photovoltaic Glazing (BIPV)
How to generate renewable energy through photovoltaics whilst maintaining aesthetic appeal and natural light filtration into buildlings.
Transparent laminate solar photovoltaic (PV) glass that can be used like any glazing product for roofing, facades and structures. As a window glazing it performs like conventional glass but with the added benefits of superior g and u thermal values as well as generating renewable energy to directly power the building or structure – it will also reduce thermal gains and therefore air conditioning loads with g-values of around 0.24. When fabricated into an insulated unit, the product can achieve U-values of or below 1 W/m2K. The glass operates in the same way as the panels on roofs, with the added benefit of allowing natural light through to the area underneath.
The energy generated from the solar glass is fed via an inverter to power the building, charge a battery storage system, or fed back to the national grid to provide money through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). The products are fully certified and tested and warranted for 25 years. There are numerous case studies and example installations in the UK and overseas covering solutions such as bus shelters, market stalls, skylights, canopies, carports, facades, windows, greenhouses, etc.
The solar PV glass costs around twice the price of conventional glass, but once incorporated, in a curtain walling system for example, represents a small percentage of the overall build cost. The return on investment will depend on the individual project circumstances, related to value/cost of power, solar radiance available and substitution material costs. Generally there is anticipated to be a 5 – 20 year payback period, but with an ongoing revenue of 30 + years.
A recent UK project installing an office skylight delivered payback through solar generation and air-conditioning savings in 6 years, with removal of blinds for glare control down to one year and tax benefits made this an immediate positive contribution.
Several case studies can be found at https://polysolar.com/solar-glazing-case-studies-commercial. Polysolar have received positive feedback on numerous projects for example:
- A recent high street regeneration project reduced their environmental impact whilst also attracting back shoppers and lowering the council’s energy bills and CO2 emissions.
- A heritage project that need to cut down energy and emissions while not impacting the architectural aesthetics and heritage value of the building.
- An electric vehicle charging hub, which generated renewable energy from carpark canopies but also reduced the need for expensive upgrade to the grid through battery storage and EV chargers.