Canada-based photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer Qsolar has just announced a new line of solar panels that it believes provides unique solutions for those interested in building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). In addition to a new line of clear, semi-transparent panels which the company calls “Kristal”, Qsolar has developed a tinted line of panels available in six different color schemes that could change the way new structures look whilst also generating electricity for the buildings they are a part of.
BIPV aren’t a new development in the world of solar power but the technology seems to be gaining popularity in Europe more quickly than in the U.S. For those unfamiliar with the concept, BIPV solar panels are designed to become part of a building, rather than just added onto it. Some popular examples of BIPV include solar shingles, often used on pitched roofs to replace conventional shingles and glass laminate, which are often placed over existing windows on a building.
Qsolar’s BIPV products appear to be different in that they are totally frameless and can be used in place of windows, skylights, roofs and even walls. The addition of color to the panels could mean that design considerations don’t necessarily need to be tossed out the window for the sake of a more eco-friendly structure. The available colors are blue, red, purple, green, grey/green and grey/brown.
Qsolar claims that what makes its product unique is a patent-pending spray-on technology that allows solar cells to be fully encapsulated and protected from the elements while also eliminating the costly and time consuming conventional lamination process. The company says that much interest in the new panels has been expressed but time will tell if the notion of replacing walls and windows with solar panels catches on amongst building designers and architects.