Solar panels that can emulate a brick surface or display a floral composition to embellish any facade, while ensuring optimal performance. This is what a Dutch team has just achieved with the presentation of Dutch Solar, a solution that combines aesthetics and ease of use with high-quality solar technology. “Like the design of the Netherlands” , say its promoters.
The images with some examples of how far this innovation can go speak for themselves. Dutch Solar puts solar energy one step closer to absolute “design freedom”, according to the Dutch Center for Energy Research (ECN). Together with him, UNStudio, Design Innovation Group, the facade constructor Aldowa, the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and the TS Visual company, specialized in printing, have worked on this new solution.
The sum of this last signature has been key, since it is precisely the printing technique that allows these panels to approach total flexibility in terms of aesthetics. Thus, the image that is desired for the solar installation of a facade is printed in a personalized way and from an algorithm that is the one that guarantees that the panels offer the desired optical effect, with a minimum coverage that does not limit the entry of light and , with this, reduce the effectiveness of the panels.
Because, although aesthetics have been a maxim, the objective of this group of institutions and companies was to find a technology that combines appearance, performance and sustainability. And, from what they claim, they have succeeded. “We have found the sweet spot, with 30% color printing and a guaranteed yield of 80%,” explains ECN researcher John van Roosmalen.
To find this exact point of harmony, it was necessary to incorporate back contact technology, with which the “perfect” background was obtained for printing and for the integration of photovoltaic cells. This technology, which has also provided flexibility in dimensions and production, has made it possible to improve the performance of this solution by between 5 and 10% compared to standard cells.
In addition to not lagging behind other proposals on the market in terms of performance, this panel also does not do so in durability, since the useful life of this innovation (and color fastness) is estimated at twenty years.
Added to all of the above is the flexibility of the motif that you want to display on your panels, but also their size and even the type of solar cells to use. In this sense, Dutch Solar’s technology applies to monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon cells, as well as thin-film cells.
With a size for the modules that stands at 120 × 90 centimeters, somewhat below the size of conventional panels, its promoters argue that they are adding even more flexibility. “It aligns (the module) with the standard sizes for the construction industry, which are multiples of 30 centimeters” , they assure. Between this and the metal casing based on back contact technology, this solution is viable for a multitude of dimensions and for very varied applications.
“Facades and annexes of facades; acoustic barriers on highways or roads, canopies… ” . These are some of the possible outlets for these solar modules that offer another alternative and, of course, freer aesthetically, for architects and builders.