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  
Achieving Aesthetics  
energy collection without compromis- WhAts 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