30 September 2013
German solar film maker Heliatek has teamed up with flat-glass producer AGC Glass Europe to integrate glass and solar films for building envelopes.
Their goal is to produce entire glass faÃ§ades that are photovoltaic (PV) solar energy harvesters.
CEO of Heliatek, Thibaud Le Séguillon, said the new approach would further the concept of "building-integrated photovoltaics" (BIPV) by offering a larger PV-active area than just rooftops.
He said it would also cut the installation costs associated with conventional PV panels.
"Once developed, this will open up all vertical glass surfaces for PV," he said.Â
Heliatek says nano-scale engineering is behind its ultra-light, ultra-thin solar films (Heliatek)
Heliatek says its nano-scale engineering allows it to produce ultra-light and ultra-thin solar films that can harvest the sun’s energy from full sun down to a tenth of full sun, such as on a cloudy day, and that its films work even when not directly facing the sun.
The key to their performance, the company says, is a family of small organic molecules, called oligomers, developed at Heliatek’s lab in Ulm, Germany.
It says it solar tandem cells are made of "nanometers-thin layers of high purity and uniformity", allowing the company "to literally engineer the cell architecture to systematically improve efficiency and lifespan".
Marc Van Den Neste, chief technology officer of AGC Glass Europe, said: "I am confident that this solution will open up new prospects for creativity and energy efficiency to architects and designers."
Alexander Valenzuela, VP Business at Heliatek, said: "Together, we understand and will meet the building industry requirements as well as the needs of the architects and end-users regarding reliability, life-expectancy and return-on-investment."