University of Zürich (Switzerland)

The newly constructed Institute of Medical Microbiology (IMM) at the University of Zürich is a supremely impressive BIPV flagship project with CIGS thin-film technology for the canton of Zürich.

The bright glass facade of the institute has an unembellished, restrained style in which even a trained eye would have difficulty spotting the concealed photovoltaic system. The CIGS thin-film modules are produced using a special screen printing process that enables them to blend seamlessly into conventional building exteriors. Their high light sensitivity ensures efficient power generation even in the case of colored modules or in poor light situations.

A “patchwork” method was used to manufacture the institute’s solar facade by connecting up to five individual modules together and tailoring them to size. This method allows infinite scalability and enabled a total of 673 modules in 36 different sizes ranging from 75 x 145 cm to 120 x 290 cm to be constructed.

With an array of different shapes, colors, scales, and surface textures on offer, facade concepts can be customized for optimum sustainability and economical power generation. The proven method of choice for their installation is in the form of rear-ventilated curtain walls, which was also used at the University of Zürich. The solar modules can be invisibly mounted and individually replaced or maintained.

Facts and Figures

  1. University of Zürich, Gloriastrasse 32, 8006 Zürich, Switzerland
  2. Active PV facade on all four sides of the building
  3. 1,262 sqm of facade-integrated photovoltaic modules
  4. 673 patchwork modules in 36 different formats
  5. PV system as rear-ventilated curtain wall
  6. 130 kWp installed power
  7. Completed in 2018

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