5 September 2022
Gloucester Cathedral in England installed a 38 kW system atop its roof in 2016. The 150-module system has reduced the cathedral’s energy costs by over 25%. Gloucester Cathedral also worked with installer Mypower to find the right balance of capital cost and electricity yield while ensuring the module design closely complemented the aesthetics of the roof. Photo: Gloucester Cathedral.
The urgency of rooftop solar uptake has only been accelerated by the current energy crisis, but the spread of PV to historic and landmarked buildings remains limited. In Europe, historic buildings constructed before 1945 represent at least a quarter of total building stock. To boost uptake, some municipalities are considering a loosening of their protection policies, while researchers are finding interesting byways for installation. Furthermore, building integrated PV solutions (BIPV) are being touted as the ideal compromise between aesthetic continuity and new generation opportunities.
Technological and aesthetic improvements over the last decade, made these kind of solutions more accessible and appropriate than ever before. Historical buildings need not to sacrifice aesthetic continuity for improved sustainability and lower energy costs. Research projects on this topic as the « BIPV Meets History » project at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland, can help to generate wider acceptance of BIPV as a building material in its own right. « This change is happening, but it is necessary that architects and the building industry know what is possible, what is best practice, and what are the products being developed » said Cristina Polo, as main researcher, and head for the Swiss share of the project. Also, the BIPV industry take an important role in this growing boost of the technology, there is a great interest in using BIPV for renovation. “The fact that you can develop new products based on crystalline technology which hide the solar cells makes it easier to employ solar in renovation projects because the glass is going to look like any other material, such as ceramic tile or stone. That improvement in aesthetic value makes it easier to install BIPV in historical and protected buildings” words from Teodosio del Caño chief technical officer from the Spain-based Onyx Solar company.
You can read the full article, published on the August issue of PV Magazine International and written by Blake Matich at www.pv-magazine.com or download the pdf copy directly on this page in the ‘See also’ section.