White solar modules: a revolution for building integration
Neuchatel/Switzerland, 28 October 2014 – CSEM announces the world’s first white solar modules. This innovative technology is particularly attractive to the building industry where solar elements can blend into a building’s skin and become virtually hidden energy sources. Applications in the consumer goods sector are also expected.
Currently, the market lacks photovoltaic (PV) products specifically designed to be integrated into buildings. Most PV modules, built to maximize sunlight absorption, appear blue-black. This appearance, caused by the presence of cells and connections, is visually unaesthetic and this complicates the acceptance of PV by built-environment professionals.
For decades architects have been asking for a way to customize the color of solar elements to make them blend into a building’s skin. White is a particularly interesting color as it is widely used for its elegance, versatility, and fresh look. Despite of this demand, no one was ever able to realize a truly white solar module; naturally believing that it was impossible as most of the light is reflected, contrary to the requirements of all solar panels.
CSEM has developed a new technology to make white solar modules, with no visible cells and connections, a reality. It combines a solar cell technology able to convert infrared solar light into electricity and a selective scattering filter, which scatters the whole visible spectrum while transmitting infrared light. Any solar technology based on crystalline silicon can now be used to manufacture white — and colored —modules.
The technology can be applied on top of an existing module or integrated into a new module during assembly, on flat or curved surfaces. Besides its main application in BIPV, other fields such as consumer electronics (laptops), and the car industry are expected to show significant interest.
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