At first, most owners of PV systems were satisfied simply when they became producers of solar power. On converting boats to solar power, we started to look into the integration of solar modules at an early stage. Soon we came up with the idea of integrating solar cells with transparent foil into the cabin roof. This not only resulted in an attractive appearance, but also gave the cabin a completely new, light-filled aesthetic.
In the building pictured below, which was completely renovated in 2011 in terms of its energy consumption, the gable roof (orientated east to west) was completely covered with frameless PV laminates, which were tailor-made to fit precisely around the skylights. Only the keen-eyed observer will notice that the somewhat unusual-looking roof surface comprises an 85 kWp PV system.
PV systems that are orientated east to west are still relatively rare nowadays due to the lower yield, but they have the advantage that energy production is spread more evenly over the whole day than is the case with south-facing systems. Therefore, the peak loading on the electricity grid is reduced.
In 2019, we built Switzerland’s first fence PV system with bifacial PV laminates in Glovelier:
This type of PV system produces about the same amount of energy each month throughout the year in fog-free locations, making seasonal storage largely unnecessary.
Another advantage of this system is that there is no impairment of electricity production in winter due to the panels being covered with snow.