ETS has supplied and connected the first multi-residential BiPV installation in Australia. The 5kW system utilizes Amorphous Silicon technology (a-Si) as the balcony glass in a unique frame which also doubles as the balustrade.
The thin-film cell offers 10% transparency allowing a portion of visible light through the glass for natural lighting on the lower area of the balcony. This low transparency also provides a semi-private function due to the glass facing the building rather than the sky as you would see in a skylight installation or vision glass window.
a-Si cells, although lower in output than Crystalline PV, generate energy in a slightly different way. They capture energy from daylight rather than direct sunlight meaning a portion of energy is still generated during shaded or cloudy conditions. Perfect for climates like Victoria for that extra kWh’s across the seasons.
Thin-film offers better aesthetics because the cell (which is applied in black strips to an internal face of glass) can be lasered very finely to allow an even distribution of light to the area behind or below. Another huge benefit is the ability of the cell to reject solar heat gain providing reduced HVAC demand and a more comfortable environment.
WHY BIPV IN RESIDENTIAL?
The Architect, who is also the developer, wanted to add further elements to exceed his Section J target and by including the Solar glass received a density allowance yielding a further four dwellings for the project. The extra cost of PV glass came in at approx. 15 – 20% over standard glass but was more than covered by the additional project value as well as providing an ongoing payback through solar energy capture where traditional glass would have no payback at all.
By potentially meeting Solar requirements through BIPV installed on the walls or windows of buildings, there is potential to not have to install traditional solar panels and free up roof top space to be used for a communal area, roof top bar, garden, bbq area or other value real estate purpose.
ETS’ BIPV glass can be customized to suit almost any application including size, thickness, colour, and finish. Whether you need to improve sustainability on a current building or design PV into a new project, ETS has a product that can be tailored to replace conventional external building materials.