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BIPV Advances: Emirates Insolaire Completes First Colored Solar Panel Project

The future of Building-Integrated Photovoltaics has taken a leap forward following completion of a 12 kWp building façade located in Switzerland.

emiratesinsolaire logoAdd to this list two more buildings in Europe that have  been scheduled by Emirates Insolaire and the future of Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) seems destined for a place in construction reality. With commercial-scale operations starting this year, the BIPV company has big plans for the future, including capacity ramp ups and entry into new markets.

According to the press announcement, Emirates Insolaire is a joint venture structured in November 2013 by Dubai Investments PJSC and Swiss INSO Holding. The BIPV material used here is glass. To this end, the company produces colored glass using what is called Kromatix technology. This technology can be used with both PV and solar thermal modules.

Emirates Insolaire recently completed a 12 kWp colored solar panel project — said to be the first of its kind — on the façade of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology’s (EPFL’s) ELL building in Lausanne, Switzerland. According to the company, a total of AED 850,000 (around US$231,421) was invested by power company Romande Energie, Acomet, the EPFL, and Emirates Insolaire.

The glass panels will hopefully be capable of generating enough electricity annually to meet the energy needs of two four-person families.

Emirates_Insolaire__coloured_solar_panels_on_the_building_facade_in_Switzerland_12_kWp_Image_Business_Wire

The panels on the Lausanne façade are said to be capable of generating enough energy annually to meet the needs of two four-person families.

“The completion of Emirates Insolaire’s first project in Lausanne is a major milestone for the company,” said Rafic Hanbali, Managing Partner of Emirates Insolaire. “With the Kromatix technology, the company has ushered in a paradigm shift in solar applications because of its aesthetic appeal to any building façade and efficiency due to its power generating attributes. The company sees significant growth opportunities going forward not only in the Europe but across the globe.”

In addition to the Lausanne system, Emirates Insolaire has completed two other installations:

  • a 24 kWp BIPV system in Basel, Switzerland, with Solvatec
  • a solar thermal project for DOMA Solartechnik GmbH’s headquarters in Satteins, Austria.

How the systems are designed and what electrical work is required was not explained in the press announcement, however, the idea of integrating PV systems in the overall design of a building is worthy of further study, especially if the system prove to be cost-effective in terms of generated electricity. Storage is another item that needs addressing.

Other companies are also busy in developing BIPV products. Onyx Solar reports taking on various BIPV turnkey projects involving design, custom glass manufacturing, mechanical and electrical engineering, installation, performance monitoring, and management.

The New York-based concern has completed BIPV projects in Spain, France, and Italy, including deployment of the largest integrated photovoltaic skylight in the United States.

Sapa Solar BIPV is another new system for capturing solar energy. The system has been built with solar cells included in double or triple glazing units alternatively in filling panels as opaque single glass.

Future plans for Emirates Insolaire

Having begun commercial-scale production of its colored glass just this year, Hanbali has said he is looking at ramping up capacity for the company. Currently, Emirates Insolaire produces 200 MW in Europe via OEM contracts. In 2015, Hanbali anticipates sales for over 50,000 square meters of the colored glass.

Hanbali says a number of new projects totaling several MWs are in the pipeline in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Europe, the U.S. and Brazil. However, he declined to provide specific details at this early stage.

Requests for Emirates Insolaire’s Kromatix technology are said to be coming from a number of Arabic countries, Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Brazil. This is good news. Hanbali adds there are plans to enter a number of new markets, including in the GCC countries, Europe, the U.S., Singapore, South Korea and South America.

Responding to the BIPV market share Emirates Insolaire is aiming to capture, Hanbali has stated, “BIPV is already the fastest growing sector within solar installations, and this can only accelerate for the obvious reason of producing energy on the same location where it is consumed.”

Image:Emirates Insolaire

 
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Written By

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.

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