Here, the sun is not only shining on a chic façade; the walls of these houses convert light into electricity, in addition to the conventional solar panels on the roof. The goal was that the 33 apartments would be able to generate their own solar electricity after the renovations, says Karl Viriden from the planning office. So areas can be used which previously weren’t used, that’s right, and at the right time. Here, electricity is produced mainly in the morning and afternoon or in the late afternoon, whereas on the roof the peak is usually at midday, even during the summer.
On the façade, the yield is high, on the north to west-facing sides, and particularly on the south side. The planning office thus decided on a coated glass plate façade containing solar cells. But will the costs pan out for the client? Isn’t the technology still too expensive? We’ll be able to amortize the remainder within 20 years. We expect that all of the additional costs will have been paid off in 15 years. Then the building will produce electricity at no cost.
This apartment building in Brütten, Canton Zurich, also has a facade made of photovoltaic modules. It will then produce enough solar electricity to be completely autonomous. It won’t be connected to the local electricity grid. We’re meeting Stefan Nowak, head of the photovoltaic research programme at the Swiss Federal Office of Energy. For him, the customized photovoltaic solutions are an opportunity for the Swiss solar industry.
Specially produced solar facades instead of mass-produced ones from China, In future, these products will be less expensive or at least not more costly than conventional building products or construction materials, so that the customer can also choose that. Plus the customer benefits from the energy that is produced, and this means that he’s better off at the end of the day. Individual Swiss projects already prove that solar technology doesn’t just produce electricity but is also colorful and architecturally appealing.
This is where these solar modules are produced: in Deitingen, Canton Solothurn. The company’s specialties include long-lasting, double-glazed photovoltaic modules, which are flexible in size, shape, and color. The company had to acquire the machinery on its own. Because it’s not standard equipment, we have our own machine tool department, which develops and assembles these machines Façades which not only look nice but also produce electricity from sunlight. There’s a still lot to do – the Swiss solar industry is up to the challenge.