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1 November 2016

Stion's frameless module chosen for BIPV carbon-neutral apartments in The Netherlands

Stion Corp of San Jose, CA, USA says that its frameless CIGS (copper indium gallium selenium) photovoltaic module is being incorporated into the design of the most recent project of Dutch firm NBA (NewBestArchitecten). Two five-storey residential apartment buildings, each with 48 individual units, will all be carbon neutral, including the elevator and the common room. The houses are also equipped with high-efficiency water heat pumps and a heat recovery system (all solar-powered).

While most carbon-neutral homes include solar modules, "what is unique about this project is that the solar modules are integrated into the building, so that you would not know the buildings have solar unless we told you," says NBA architect Harold van de Ven.

According to Stion, building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) has been on the radar for many architects but few have actually developed projects using an integrated solar module. Many BIPV manufacturers are trying to figure out how to deposit thin layers of photovoltaic materials on glass that nevertheless still allows sunlight through, but this is still prohibitively expensive, says the firm. Instead, NBA installed the panels vertically as a façade that will encase the entire building, except for areas with traditional windows that allow for natural sunlight.

While panels are typically installed on a south-facing roof, increased efficiencies are enabling east-west installations. Stion says that its CIGS solar modules are suitable for installations that need to eek out every watt of power, as they generate increased energy compared with crystalline silicon due to:

  • what is claimed to be an industry-best temperature coefficient of -0.26%/ºC that reduces energy production loss when temperatures increase;
  • increased energy generation over time due to CIGS having no light-induced degradation (LID) or potential-induced degradation (PID); and
  • increased production in shaded environments.

Stion notes that east-west facing arrays also have the benefit of extending the time period over the day during which energy is produced. "Rather than a large spike in production during the peak hours of the day, we smooth and extend the energy generation profile by installing the modules in east-west," comments Henrico van de Boomen, owner of EigenEnergie.net (the largest CIGS distributor in Europe). Also, east-west installations minimize the amount of electricity needed to be net-metered, which can be beneficial for policies that reimburse less for net-metered energy.

Tags: Stion CIGSSe

Visit: www.stion.com

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