How con­crete fa­cades can be used as en­er­gy-gen­er­at­ing
so­lar col­lec­tors

In co­op­er­a­tion with the Helmholtz-Zen­trum Ber­lin für Ma­te­rialien und En­ergie (Helmholtz Cen­ter Ber­lin for Ma­te­rials and En­er­gy) and six in­dus­trial part­n­ers, the re­search plat­form BAU KUNST ERFIN­D­EN is de­vel­op­ing façade el­e­ments that are ca­pa­ble of ac­com­mo­dat­ing so­lar mo­d­ules of dif­fer­ent types and gen­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing fu­ture gen­er­a­tions that are not yet known.

The sun is al­ready an im­por­tant source of en­er­gy and pho­to­vol­taics will be­come one of the most im­por­tant pow­er sup­p­ly tech­nolo­gies in the fu­ture. Build­ings play an im­por­tant role in this. They in­creas­ing­ly in­ter­act with the en­er­gy sys­tem and have the po­ten­tial to be­come de­cen­tral­ized en­er­gy cen­ters. The dom­i­nant ma­te­rial in build­ing-in­te­grat­ed pho­to­vol­taics (BIPV) to­day is the sil­i­con so­lar cell. Well-known here are pan­els, which have be­come large­ly estab­lished as roof­top so­lar pow­er sys­tems. Such sys­tems re­quire space, which is limit­ed in ur­ban ar­eas. Fur­ther, sil­i­con-based pho­to­vol­taics must face south to ef­fec­tive­ly use sun­light. Since build­ing and pan­el ge­ome­try are of­ten not co­or­d­i­nat­ed, sil­i­con-based build­ing-in­te­grat­ed pho­to­vol­taics are wide­ly per­ceived as a struc­tu­ral add-on with no aes­thet­ic val­ue.

BIPV of­fers great po­ten­tial to pro­vide sig­ni­f­i­cant amounts of re­ne­w­able en­er­gy close to con­sump­tion even in ur­ban ar­eas. At the same time, it has bare­ly been able to gain a foothold to date. Since 2020, new EU reg­u­la­tions have re­quired a high­er use of PV on build­ings. This de­vel­op­ment has been trans­lat­ed in­to Di­rec­tive 2010/31/EU, which tar­gets near-ze­ro en­er­gy build­ings (NZEBs) by 2020 in terms of build­ing ef­fi­cien­cy. This will not be pos­si­ble with con­ven­tio­n­al PV sys­tems on roofs alone, due to the un­fa­vor­able re­la­tion­ship be­tween build­ing en­er­gy de­mand and the avai­l­able roof area. In con­trast, fa­cades of­fer enor­mous ar­eas for po­ten­tial en­er­gy gen­er­a­tion. They are suit­able for de­cen­tral­ized PV pow­er gen­er­a­tion in resi­den­tial and ur­ban ar­eas.

There­fore, fun­da­men­tal de­vel­op­ment work is need­ed on how to com­bine PV tech­nol­o­gy with its rapid de­vel­op­ment cy­cles with sus­tain­able build­ing ma­te­rials of long ser­vice life to un­lock the great po­ten­tial of BIPV. The de­vel­op­ment of PV cells has a rapid pace, and con­crete is one of the most wide­ly used build­ing ma­te­rials world­wide, es­pe­cial­ly in ur­ban ar­eas. Thus, the build­ing en­ve­lope is be­ing tapped as an im­por­tant en­er­gy-gen­er­at­ing sur­face.

Based on the foun­da­tions of "DysCrete / Dss­Crete", the ba­sic idea has mean­while been de­ci­sive­ly de­vel­oped on its way from ba­sic re­search to ap­plied re­search to ar­chi­tec­tu­ral im­ple­men­ta­tion. In re­sponse to the rapid pro­lif­er­a­tion of new so­lar cell sys­tems (such as DSSC, ssD­SC, OPV, CIGS, per­ovskite, tan­dem, and mod­ifed sil­i­con), as well as the rel­a­tive­ly long de­vel­op­ment cy­cles in con­struc­tion and re­lat­ed in­dus­tries, Bau Kunst Erfn­den is cur­rent­ly col­lab­o­rat­ing on a new sys­tem called So­larChip with the Helmholtz-Zen­trum Ber­lin für Ma­te­rialien und En­ergie and a con­sor­ti­um of part­n­ers from in­dus­try (Sch­wab-Stein GmbH, RECK­LI GmbH, fscher­w­erke GmbH & Co. KG, AE­con­ver­sion GmbH & Co. KG, GES Ge­bäude- En­ergiesys­teme GmbH).

So­larChip at­tempts to con­struc­tive­ly synchronize th­ese two trends by build­ing in­no­va­tive con­crete-based fa­cade com­po­nents that can ac­com­mo­date so­lar el­e­ments of any type or gen­er­a­tion, in­clud­ing fu­ture gen­er­a­tions that have yet to be de­vel­oped.


research & project funding

cooperation partners

  • Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie
  • Reckli GmbH
  • Schwab-Stein GmbH
  • fischerwerke GmbH & Co. KG
  • AEconversion GmbH & Co. KG

team members