Indian scientists tested four kinds of phase change materials (PCMs) for solar module cooling in building-integrated photovoltaics. The PCMs were encapsulated with the PV system and the building envelopes and were also found to be beneficial to the thermal comfort inside the buildings.
U.S. scientists have put luminescent solar concentrators in a windowpane to absorb certain light wavelengths and transmit them to solar cells. The concentrators are made of a conjugated polymer sandwiched between window layers.
The German research institute has proposed a technique based on the surface structure of the wings of the morpho butterfly to produce colored BIPV panels for facades and rooftops. The process is claimed to make it possible to color the modules with an optical effect and not with color pigments, which reduce their efficiency.
Solar windows are only likely to reach commercial maturity when manufacturers consider how they can add “soft” value to buildings, as required by the construction industry. In order to increase this value, increasing their conversion efficiency will become less important, while understanding how to blend them into the existing value chain in the real estate business will be crucial.
Dutch startup Solarix has developed a new line of facade solar panels featuring 13.8% efficiency and output ranging from 110 to 180 W, depending on the module size and color. The panels can be bolted or glued onto aluminum mounting systems applied to facades.
Scientists in the Netherlands are planning to build intelligent PV devices for energy and information applications. Their intention is to make this approach a new field of PV research, whose ultimate goal is enabling solar cells to communicate with each other and with other devices, ensuring that all the generated energy ends up exactly where it’s needed, especially in the urban environment.
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