Canary Wharf Debuts Solar Glass Bus Shelter

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London commuters in the Canary Wharf business district can now enjoy waiting for buses in a new bus shelter featuring transparent solar PV glazing, which generates clean electricity.

The bus shelter was designed and developed by UK-based Polysolar Ltd in partnership with street furniture supplier Marshalls,

On its website, Marshalls states, “This installation will also constitute an upgrade in capacity and aesthetics over the previous bus shelter, retaining the weather-proofing and structural elements of standard architectural glazing.”

Building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) solutions

Architectural interest in using BIPV facades continues to gain momentum worldwide. Polysolar’s transparent BIPV skin allows for full PV building integration from façades to windows.

According to Marshalls, “The concept of discretely embedding solar technology into the fabric of structures and buildings represents a convenient and attractive means of reducing London’s carbon footprint. The Solar Bus Shelter is capable of generating more than 2000 kWhours per year, enough electricity to power the average London home – so adoption of this exciting technology can make a significant contribution to London’s sustainable future.”

Polysolar states the key advantage of BIPV comes from the cost of installation being offset by the production of renewable energy. This kind of free-electricity system provides a welcome alternative to developers and municipalities wishing to leave a clean energy footprint.

Canary Wharf shutterstock_264420083
Canary Wharf business district

As reported by BusinessGreen, the project was commissioned by Canary Wharf Group after Polysolar emerged last year as one of the winners in the property giant’s Cognicity Challenge smart cities competition.

Hamish Watson, founder and CEO of Polysolar, indicated the company hopes to deploy similar bus shelters across London. “The solar bus shelter provides not just demonstration of the functionality, performance and aesthetics of our PV glass but represents an important application innovation,” he said. “Using our solar PV glazing across London’s transport sector, in things like bus shelters, EV charging canopies, walkways and bike parks, could have a significant impact on the city’s emissions, without compromising its environment, architecture or budgets.”

canary wharf BS resized_NewPolysolar said it was continuing to work with Canary Wharf and hoped to incorporate its solar cells into the facades of offices and residential developments on the site.

Polysolar chief technology officer Joanna Slota-Newson said building integrated solar PV technologies have the potential to make solar power cost competitive, as deployments remove the need for alternative building materials.

“Key requirements to enable wider adoption of solar energy are value for money without subsidy, and attractive architectural aesthetics,” she said. “Our transparent solar glass meets both these needs through multi-functionality: the solar panel becomes part of the structure itself, looks great and also generates energy efficiently.”

Images via Shutterstock and Polysolar

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Glenn Meyers

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.

Glenn Meyers has 449 posts and counting. See all posts by Glenn Meyers

7 thoughts on “Canary Wharf Debuts Solar Glass Bus Shelter

  • I am always suspicious of the economics of these constructions, and one almost never sees numbers. Looking at the Polysolar website, we are probably dealing with respectable CdTe modules, with typical efficiency 7% (for 40% transparency). Additionally, I would assume a loss in capacity factor (due to non-optimal position and part-day shading) of a factor of 2 or so, so that the power per m2 will be 20 – 25% of that for optimally mounted 18% efficient rooftop panels. There will be a significant Balance of System cost for the bus-bars and inverter(s) for this facility with very modest wattage.
    On the other hand, the material and mounting costs are shared with the bus shelter. So is (or could this be) an economic proposition, or just cute and expensive?

    • Yes a cost of this bus stop, verse same build with just tinted glass (Plexiglas); would have made this much more informative.

      • I agree without the cost comparison this article is little more than wishful thinking.

        Likely I suspect they leave out the cost because it is wildly expensive and therefore unlikely to take hold. Hopefully one day solar costs will be so low we can start to apply them to less ideal scenarios like this because we have already covered all the ideal locations with solar.

      • Plexiglass? Why? Wouldn’t it more likely be tinted tempered glass?

  • Given the paucity of surface area available on these buildings and the protracted rate of amortisation, a relatively expensive installation can probably still be justified.

  • I want this for the windows on my house. Hopefully it will go mainstream soon enough.

  • I have never understood the use of see though panels in bus stops why not block the sun one of the 2 main reason for going under one of those things. Using standard panels would produce more like and would better block out the sun for less cost.

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