As the premium sponsor of the Konstanz University of Applied Sciences (HTWG) team at the international Solar Decathlon Europe 2012 architectural competition, German PV equipment manufacturer Sunways has supplied anthracite-coloured design solar cells and solar inverters for the team’s Ecolar plus-energy home.
Solar Decathlon Europe is held every two years by the Spanish government and was established as a spin-off from the US competition in order to promote sustainable architectural concepts. However, the most important prerequisite for competitors is that the buildings must generate sufficient solar energy to meet all their energy needs.
This year’s event sees teams from 20 universities around the world building full-scale solar powered houses and presenting their entries at the final in Madrid, Spain. The 13 day exhibition is expected to attract an estimated 600,000 visitors.
As the premium sponsor of the Konstanz university team, Sunways also provided expert assistance during the two-year planning and construction phase of the Ecolar house. The Ecolar house produces more energy than it consumes. The timber structured house has a 104 square metre roof which contains solar glass modules. These modules help to generate an output of 12.7kWp of clean electricity. Sunways collaborated with Austrian glass construction specialist Ertex Solartechnik to produce the custom products.
The modules are equipped with Sunways’ solar cells in the company’s new anthracite shade, which was developed specifically for the project. While normal solar cells are used above the building’s residential units, solar glass modules with semi-transparent solar cells were installed over the two open areas of the building to create canopies. Approximately 7% of sunlight penetrates the solar cells through slots. As a result, the PV modules provide a weather and sun shield in addition to its key role of generating electricity. For a consistent look, the solar cells in the solar modules have a perforated white film finish.
Sunways has previously been involved in the competition when it supported the HFT Stuttgart team with its Home+ project in 2010. The project won third prize in the competition.