SINTEF researcher Martin Bellmann at the lab, working on recycling of solarcells in a project named EcoSolar. Photo: Thor Nielsen/ SINTEF.

In the future, our houses will have built-in solar cells

A new EU project will provide greener cities through cheaper and simpler solar cell systems.

This autumn, the four-year EU project, PVadapt, will start developing an adaptable and multifunctional BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaic) system of substantially lower cost than conventional solutions.

Today, the cities account for 70 percent of the world’s energy consumption, which means they are responsible for 40-50 percent greenhouse gas emissions. European Technology and Innovation Platform estimates that 80 per cent of the Earth’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. This means that the energy consumption will double, or at worst, triple. Therefore, it is essential to develop sustainable solutions based on renewable energy. An example of this is the use of solar cells that are integrated in buildings.

“The BIPV system will consist of pre-built building elements with solar cells, which will make it simple and affordable to install. By using a modular system, the solar cell layout can easily be scaled up or down, “says Martin Bellmann, SINTEF researcher.

“Components will be made in a way that makes them easy to recycle after end of life and hopefully we will also be able to use recycled materials for the production”

The new building elements will primarily be used in new buildings – either on ceilings or integrated in a facade. But the project will also develop elements that can be mounted on old buildings in connection with renovation projects.

18 partners from eleven different European countries participate in the EU project with a total budget of 11 million euros. Researchers will develop new BIPV systems in collaboration with several solar module manufacturers and the building industry.

Source: European Technology and Innovation Platform Photovoltaics, BIPV Position Paper, December 2016 / SINTEF