Photovoltaic Glazing on Swiss Tech Convention Center, a world's first

A facade of 300 m2, composed of dyed solar cells, is being built on the Swiss Tech Convention Center.

This first architectural integration of photovoltaic is a new realization of the partnership between Romande Energy and the University to develop a large-scale solar farm and conduct research and development programs.

Translucent and colored solar panels, from Grätzel technology are currently being installed on the west facade of the future Swiss Tech Convention Center of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (SFITL), which will open its doors in April 2014. These 1,400 solar modules of 35 x 50 cm will soon form a total area of 300 m2. They are available in five different shades of red, green and orange, from design artists Daniel Schlaepfer and Catherine Bolle, who aimed to give a warm and dynamic aesthetics to the façade through those different colors.

This solar glazing applied to the exterior facade is a world's first. The project exploits the potential of Grätzel cells, or colored solar cells. Translucent, they are indifferent to the angle of incidence of light, and can be deployed vertically without any loss of performance. In addition to generating electricity from renewable sources, they protect the building from direct sunlight and thus reduce the use of cooling energy. This innovative solar installation is fully funded by Romande Energy. It will be commissioned in December.

Invented in 1991 by Michael Grätzel, a professor at SFITL, the dyed cells reproduce the principles of photosynthesis process at work of plants' leaves. The photovoltaic glazing doubling the west facade of Swiss Tech Convention Center is the first architectural integration on an external facade of this technology. Very aesthetic and deployed on 300 m2, the facility should demonstrate the potential of this type of solar cell and constitute a first step towards their production and large-scale use.

"It is essential for us to support the development of innovative technologies that have a direct link with our activities," said Pierre-Alain Urech, CEO of Romande Energy. 10% of the surfaces of the solar park Romande Energie - SFITL, installed on the roof of the School, are also dedicated to scientific laboratory works and Romande Energy also participates in research programs on the development of networks storage of energy or production based on renewable energy.

The proposed photovoltaic glazing is the culmination of a long political innovation conducted at SFITL. No fewer than 11 companies have purchased a license in order to market the Grätzel cells.
This first architectural integration is even more significant because it is part of the collaboration with Romande Energy, a key partner of the School in the energy field. The company and the school are particularly proud of this achievement which is a great showcase for the development of renewable technologies.

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