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Designing the colour, pattern and specularity of building integrated photovoltaics

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Architecture, Technology and Innovation 2020: Smart buildings, smart cities., Izmir, Turkey (2020)


architecture, building envelopes, building integrated photovoltaics, renewable energy


Photovoltaics shall provide 30% of the national demand for electrical energy in Switzerland by the year 2035. This ambitious goal shall be achieved not by large free-standing power plants, but to a large extent within the built up area. Integration of photovoltaics in the built environment is not only technically challenging, but asks for modules that are accepted as a visible element of architecture. Techniques to tune the visual appearance of photovoltaic modules by modification of their front glass are presented with their impact on the electrical power generation. These include the modulation of colour and light scattering properties, and the application of patterns and imagery. Ongoing research and development, available products, and implementations are presented together with first monitoring results. Preliminary results show that photovoltaics can be integrated into our built environment not only as a functional addition, but a designed element of architecture with only moderate impact on electrical efficiency. It is hoped that this significantly increases the acceptance of the technology and thereby the available area for photovoltaic power generation.