The Next Big Thing
Solar Panels Combine Aesthetics and Performance
b y S t e v e S u d e t h
dorf, Germany, talking to four guys
from Holland after a long day at
m sitting at an Irish bar in Düssel-
the glasstec show. A couple of rounds
helped us cross our language barriers
and I asked them,“What’s the most ex-
citing thing you’ve seen at the show?”
Their answer surprised me. It wasn’t
the advances in automated fabrication
equipment, the insanely large sizes
of glass being advertised, or even the
new capabilities of digital frit printing.
These guys were excited about all the
capabilities of photovoltaic glass.
Apparently, Holland is leading the
charge to incorporate smart energy in
its designs and even has the ability to
retroﬁt existing buildings with solar A signiﬁcant number of companies at glasstec 2016 featured new technologies
capabilities. These guys are focused on in solar glazing.
the energy needs of their country and
looking for ways to reduce dependency to be converted into energy. This is a efﬁciencies and not as much on interi-
on fossil fuels.
perfectly acceptable vision glass alter- ors or design-driven glass.
native for projects trying to maximize
energy collection without compromis- WhAt’s next?
While photovoltaic glass is nothing ing the natural transparency of glass.
Perhaps the next big wave of design
new to our industry,and has been used
The solar energy glass product I was is going to be incorporating energy
on many high-proﬁle projects, the de- most excited about was the Skala Archi- technologies in creative ways that push
sign developments were on full display tects Panels from Avancis.These façade architects to expand their use of glass
at the show like never before. Compa- panels are absolutely gorgeous. It was products to produce energy.The way that
nies such as ClearVue and Avancis now clear that when designing the Skala photovoltaic glass is now taking on its
provide ways for solar efﬁciency that panels, Avancis paid close attention own aesthetic identity is a good indicator
makes projects look good.
to the aesthetic demands of the build- that our industry is seeing the potential
My biggest complaint about photo- ing envelope and created a product needs in future construction and meet-
voltaic glass, up until this point, is that that will stand out in the marketplace. ing them in a way that will also bring a
it always looked like an industrial solar These stunning colored panels provide sophisticated look to our skylines. n
panel that was repurposed as a new a wonderful balance of classic ar-
material. It never quite looked right, chitecture with a future-facing el-
and the product’s effectiveness rarely egance that could quickly become
made the cost worthwhile. Companies an industry standard for the solar
are changing that.
ClearVue introduced a product that
Overall, I felt that glasstec was
S t e v e S u d e t h is the
creative director for Glas-Pro
in Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
allows for 70 percent visible light trans- lacking in new decorative glass
mission while collecting more than 90 advances. The obvious focus was
percent of the UV and IR radiation on production capabilities and
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | November 2016