AGC Automotive Europe unveils photovoltaic panoramic sunroof for passenger vehicles


At the PV in Motion conference and exhibition in Switzerland in early March, Loic Tous, PV roof project leader at Belgium-based AGC Automotive Europe, presented the AGC panoramic vehicle-integrated photovoltaic (VIPV) sunroof for passenger vehicles, sedans, sport utility vehicles or minivans, with power outputs ranging from 170 W to 380 W, depending on the usable area for PV.

AGC offers a choice of high-efficiency cell designs with efficiency greater than 25%, according to Tous. The system can integrate either n-type monocrystalline silicon tunnel oxide passivated (TOPCon) or heterojunction (HJT) solar cells.

Another option is n-type back contact (xBC) solar cells. “They offer a more premium all-black aesthetic look, and improved durability. Ultimately, the option recommended by AGC for a specific vehicle program depends on the car manufacturer’s requirements in terms of costs, aesthetics, and durability,” Tous told pv magazine.

The way the sunroof's energy is used within the vehicle is defined by AGC's customers. “It depends on the electrical architecture chosen by the car manufacturer as there are different strategies to maximize the overall system efficiency. In general, the electricity generated by the sunroof during driving is used for self-consumption to power things like the heating-ventilation-air-conditioning, displays, and audio systems, while the electricity generated during parking is used to recharge either the high voltage or low voltage battery,” explained Tous.

The VIPV unit features a glass-glass construction and it does not need a roller blind system, which saves up to 5 kg in weight and increases headroom by up to 30 mm. It can be directly mounted on vehicle assembly lines. The timing of mass production is not being disclosed due to customer confidentiality agreements, according to Tous.

Optional is a low-emissivity glass coating. “It enables the VIPV version to have the same comfort level in summer and winter as AGC’s thermal-comfort panoramic roof model without PV, a product that was integrated into a new passenger car launched in 2023,” said Tous.

Commenting on sustainability practices, Tous said, “To improve the carbon footprint of AGC panoramic solar roofs, we are minimizing the number of transport operations and sourcing all key materials, such as polysilicon, PV wafers and cells, interlayers, PV ribbons or wires, busbars and connectors, locally when possible. That’s why AGC strongly supports the establishment of local supply chains for glass and PV components in all major markets: Europe, North America, and Asia.”

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AGC Automotive Europe is an automotive industry glass and component supplier. It is the European automotive branch of glass manufacturer AGC, which in turn is part of Tokyo-based AGC, a supplier of chemicals, glass, materials, and components.


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