Wood-like solar facades

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Taiwan-based Heliartec is offering a BIPV solution for facades that can simulate natural wooden shapes and textures, while also also mimicking different kinds of textures from conventional building materials such as stone, brick, marble, and stucco. The company said the solution can also be designed to match customizable patterns created by architects and designers.

The Aesthetic Energy Panels (AEP) can work as colored laminated safety glass and replace traditional cladding in the ventilated facades of buildings, according to the manufacturer. It is producing the special panels in cooperation with several manufacturing partners in Taiwan and China.

“At the moment, we are utilizing our OEM partners’ capacities,” the company’s managing director, Andre Feenstra, told pv magazine. “The manufacturing partners must have a minimum annual capacity of 100.000 square meters, which ensures rapid growth.”

The company has multiple distribution channels in several EU countries, such as Norway and Italy, and is also present in the Benelux region. “We are targeting other European markets and we are also planning to expand distributing channels in the U.S., Japan, and China,” Feenstra added. Their price is more or less comparable to traditional building materials, such as safety glass, wood, and metal, Feenstra claimed, without offering specific figures.

The company achieved a wood color by using ceramic inks, melted and toughened on the inner side of the front glass under high-temperature treatment over 700°C. “The coloring layer is sandwiched by two pieces of tempered glass and well-protected against the weathering process,” Feenstra explained.

The edge of the double glazing is also sealed and surrounded by butyl rubber provided by an undisclosed German supplier to offer high resistance against humidity. “This further secures the functionality of the monocrystalline cell array inside,” Feenstra said.

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The modules were not encapsulated with EVA film to avoid the risk of delamination. “We used a polyvinyl butyral (PVB) film which has been widely adopted and proven among the building industry to strengthen its durability and reliability,” Feenstra explained.

The panels are available in four different wood colors, including oak and walnut, as well as two other versions. They vary in length from 60 cm to 240 cm, with widths ranging from 30 cm to 120 cm. Depending on the size, the panels can offer power outputs of 90 W to 150 W per square meter.

Heliartec Solutions said last week that the AEP won the Red Dot: Best of the Best Product Design 2020 award. The contest is open to global manufacturers and designers whose products are made under industrial production processes.

Heliartec Solutions was founded in 2017 in Hsinchu, Taiwan. It secured financial support from Taiwan’s National Development Fund last year.

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