Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), Stuttgart

The ZSW, one of the leading photovoltaic research institutes, has integrated CIGS Modules – developed in collaboration with NICE Solar Energy – strong in design into the exterior facade of its new building, for energy generation and for research purposes.

What is more practical than using the self-developed photovoltaic modules for energy generation and also as an in-house research area? The facade-integrated solar modules cover most of the closed area of the research institute. Due to their material properties, they look like matt glass and hardly differ optically from the black anodized aluminium plates, which cover the part of the building that is irrelevant for the generation of electricity from solar energy. The modular design of the facade enables CIGS modules to be individually replaced where necessary needed and also allows for example the latest in-house developed advanced modules to be hot-swapped into the existing mounting system for testing.

To maximize light absorption, black modules were selected for the BIPV system in place at the ZSW. These dark non-reflecting glass modules are combined with the prefabricated exposed concrete sections at the lower facade levels, which are integrally black colored, to create an aesthetically stunning result.

The standout benefit of BIPV facade systems is their high efficiency. The vertical installation of the CIGS modules delivers higher power outputs than classic PV roof systems even when the sun is at a low angle, e.g. mornings and evenings and in the winter months.

Facts and Figures

  1. Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), Meitnerstrasse 1, 70563 Stuttgart, Germany
  2. PV facades facing south-east, south-west and north-west
  3. 256 sqm of facade-integrated photovoltaic modules
  4. Framed glass-glass modules in 6 different formats
  5. Framed module mounting system from NICE Solar Energy GmbH
  6. 29 kWp installed power
  7. About 72,000 kWh/a of electricity generated by solar energy
  8. Completed in 2017

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