Hanergy & Heliatek complete BIPV HQ installations

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Two well-known names in the solar industry have this week taken great strides to advance the building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) sector by adding sizeable installations to their respective headquarters.

Chinese thin-film giants Hanergy and German organic electronics specialist Heliatek have opted for BIPV on their HQ facades to demonstrate the capability of this technology to harvest solar energy in less-than optimum conditions.

The initial phase of Hanergy’s installation has added 600 kW BIPV capacity to the company’s Beijing HQ, with the company revealing that the final 3 MW installation will incorporate thin-film solar technology into the building’s curtain walls, skywalks, flexible roof installations and carport.

Phase I meets 20% of the building’s electricity demand, and the final 3 MW BIPV installation will generate enough solar energy to power Hanergy’s entire HQ. The installation will also be earn 0.42 yuan per kWh in distributed power subsidies, and will lower the building’s carbon emissions by 2,500 tons per year – the equivalent of taking 780 cars off the road.

Design flexibility

Hanergy’s BIPV installation was added to its HQ with the minimum upheaval. The original architectural integrity of the building remains unchanged, and the integrated thin-film components on the exterior building walls have been made to resemble dragon scales. The effect is aesthetically striking, but also ensures optimal lighting, shading and ventilation inside.

The BIPV components chosen by Hanergy have been specially adapted for superior low-light performance, resistance to temperature extremes, customizable colors and shapes, and extra malleability over traditional panels.

"With these technologies, Hanergy is dedicated to providing customized BIPV solutions to modern buildings," said Hanergy Thin Film Power Group CEO and deputy chairman, Dai Mingfang. "From market development, components R&D, architecture structure design, electrical design and architectural thermal analysis, to system integration and standardization study, Hanergy is developing a one-stop BIPV service."

China’s BIPV potential remains largely untapped, but Hanergy estimate that the applicable area for BIPV in the country’s vast urban areas will reach 1.79 billion square meters, with the capability of generating 61.5 billion kWh of solar electricity.

Go organic

Over in Dresden, Germany, Heliatek has taken a similar approach. The installation of the company’s patented HeliaFilms glass on to its HQ façade represents the largest BIOPV (building integrated organic photovoltaics) installation of its kind in the world.

The HeliaFilm panels were laminated into glass by AGC Glass Europe and installed on to the Dresden HQ’s east-facing façade in order to “demonstrate the superior harvesting factor under less-than-ideal mounting conditions that often occur in BIPV applications”, said the company.

Heliatek also announced that a data logging system will track the films’ ambient temperatures, the power generated, and the intensity of the solar irradiation each is subjected to. Heliatek will directly consume all solar energy generated onsite.

"Heliatek’s solar film is the ideal solution for BIPV solar installations," said Heliatek CEO Thibaud le Seguillon. "The durability of HeliaFilm and its superior harvesting factor make it the film of choice for a number of building and construction material companies."

AGC Glass Europe’s product manager for active glass, Frederic Bonnefoy, added: "Organic PV is much less energy-intensive to manufacture compared to crystalline silicon, and the HeliaFilm product is ideally suited for glass curtain walls of all kinds."

Heliatek currently holds the world record organic electronics PV efficiency, setting a benchmark of 12% for opaque organic cells. The company has also developed a cell with a transparency of up to 40% that delivers an associated efficiency of more than 7%.