BIPV facade for new exhibition space in Switzerland


Novartis, a Swiss health care company, has inaugurated its new conference center in Basel, which features a building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) facade based on organic solar modules and LEDs.

The company said the zero-energy facade of the Novartis Pavillon plays a symbolic role in the architecture, as the LEDs are used to screen the works of three international artists, Daniel Canogar, Esther Hunziker and Semiconductor. The PV installation has a capacity of 36 kW and features 10,680 diamond-shaped solar modules provided by France-based organic PV module maker Asca, a unit of Armor solar power films. The system covers a surface of 1,333 square meters.

The solar module used in the project.

Image: Novartis

The facade was designed and engineered by iart, a Swiss studio for media architectures, in collaboration with architects AMDL Circla and Michele De Lucchi. “The arrangement of the solar modules on the dome-shaped Novartis Pavillon enables the measurement of the electricity produced in all directions,” iart said. “Data collected during the first few months of operation shows that the façade produces enough power to display text in the daytime – when the exhibition is open – and digital art animations for up to two hours after sunset.”

Armor said its solar modules can achieve a 26% efficiency in low light environments. Currently, its solar technology is mainly used to supply electricity to small connected objects indoors, in environments where the light is low (from 200 lux), such as temperature sensors and geolocation trackers.

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“Their design and physical properties make these organic solar modules ideal for use on the dome-shaped Novartis Pavillon, as they can be produced in various shapes, are bendable, translucent, and extremely light-sensitive,” iart said. “Which means they can also be installed in spots not ideally oriented towards the sun.”


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