BIPV as rapid sustainability technology

Aug 16, 2022

How are we going to make the existing built environment in the Netherlands more energy efficient faster? Solar energy systems play an important role in this energy transition. Building-integrated solar panels can even accelerate this as an electrical and thermal energy source. Discover in this blog how Building-Integrated Photovoltaic-Thermal (BIPVT) systems, in a programmatic chain approach, will make the difference for the renovation market.

BIPVT panels

With 12.1% built-up area, the Netherlands is number 2 of Europe’s densely built-up countries, where on average only 4.2% is built-up. The energy consumption in our country is therefore unnecessarily high because many of these buildings are outdated and poorly insulated. This means they do not meet modern sustainability requirements, but by 2050 more than seven million homes and one million other buildings must be made more sustainable. How can we achieve that in a relatively short period of time?

Solar energy as a solution

That is why we have seen more and more solar parks appear in recent years, but the disadvantage of this is that ‘free’ nature or estate is covered and construction can take (too) long due to complicated regulations.

In addition, solar parks in the Netherlands supply energy at peak times that pose a challenge to the capacity of the electricity network, as described in our blog about overload. In addition, investments must be made in expensive cabling to get the energy to the end user.


solar design facade kuijpers helmond

Images via Berenschot

Making existing built areas more sustainable

In our view, it is therefore more than logical to optimally use existing built-up areas for energy generation instead of solar parks. Preferably also in the physical vicinity of the end user, the consumer, so that the distance between generation and user is as short as possible and the energy grid needs to be loaded as little as possible.

However, often only solar panels on the roof are considered as a solar energy system, the so-called PV-on-roof solar systems. Growth is therefore increasing enormously, but the full potential of the roof is often not used and from an aesthetic point of view all those black panels do not always look good. A more promising solution for making the built environment more sustainable is therefore building-integrated photovoltaic thermal systems (BIPVT).

BIPV(T) as a scalable and modular accelerator

A building-integrated photovoltaic-thermal system BIPV(T) is the combination of electrical and thermal energy yield that is generated from the building envelope and can look attractive. The solar panels can be integrated into both building elements and materials, such as BIPV(T) glass, roof and facade solutions. They also have an additional function in the building, such as sun protection, thermal insulation or safety.

By integrating solar panels in buildings, energy generation and storage remain close to the user. In addition, BIPV(T) is scalable and modularly applicable per building. The advantage of this modularity is that no additional expensive collective infrastructure is required and that these solutions fit into the Dutch built landscape. This has the potential to significantly accelerate the sustainability challenge.

BIPV(T) gives BEAUTIFUL energy!

In short, more building-integrated PV systems need to be developed. Solarix is therefore part of the Dutch ‘BIPV(T) gives MOOI energy!’ trajectory with the aim of “an innovative, integrated renovation approach for a CO2-free built environment through the realization of a programmatic chain approach for the renovation market” of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. From 2025, this project will ensure that at least 2500 renovation homes and 2500 new homes per year are transformed into Plus-Op-the-Meter homes using BIPV(T). Project-related developments can be followed via initiator Berenschotand BIPV Nederland or read more in theSolar Magazine.

The participating parties focus on integrable, affordable and scalable building-integrated BIPV(T) systems and want to ensure a cost price reduction of no less than 40% through research and innovations. By using circular materials, lean production processes and modular plug-and-play construction principles, you ensure a cost-efficient construction process with less manual work.

solar design facade kuijpers helmond
Solar design facade panels

With this trajectory we get the opportunity to do extensive research on scaling, cost efficiency, material reduction and product innovation for our own building integrated photovoltaic system, the Solarix design solar facades. We are now working hard on the development of BIPV facade posts with standard dimensions, the first of which was already shown in the De Optopper’.

Standard BIPV facade panels with ‘optimum’ dimensions

Aesthetics are central to our facade panels, but of course we also look at cost efficiency. In recent years we have realized custom projects and developed collections within Solarix Colors with a wide range of designs and colors. However, in addition to aesthetics, our clients are also looking for high yields and easy integration into buildings.

This is how the idea arose to set a new standard with facade solar panels that match the dimensions of the construction industry and generate the highest possible energy. In the ‘BIPV(T) gives MOOI energy!’ trajectory we do a lot of research into how we can improve our colors even more for a higher energy yield and scalability.

BIPVT panels

The result? More structure and more energy yield for architects and project developers. Just a little sneak peek:

  • Different sizes that match the architecture of most buildings: 600×1200 mm, 600×1800 mm, 900×900 mm and 900×1800 mm.
  • Efficient design with an optimal distribution of solar cells and therefore a higher energy yield per m2.
  • Faster lead time from inquiry to delivery.
  • Standard sizing but still with equally high quality colors and designs!

Curious about our developments and the standard BIPV solar panels for the facade?

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