Solar wall is another step towards self-sustaining buildings

28th May 2015
Barney Scott

Europe´s first solar concrete wall has been inaugurated at RECKLI's headquarters in Herne, Germany. The facade, designed by RECKLI, uses solar film from Heliatek (HeliaFilm) and represents a novel approach to BIOPV - Building Integrated Organic PV. The result of a joint development project, the wall demonstrates the next step towards a sustainable, net-zero energy building.

With an installed power of 1kWp, the south-west oriented wall will supply around 500kWh of electricity per year. The energy produced will be used directly by Reckli. Comprising 3 rows of concrete modules with vertically mounted integrated solar film, the wall's total area is 16.8x3.5m.

The annual energy output is expected to be about 25% above the yield of silicon technology. Heliatek has already shown that its solar film, HeliaFilm, delivers more energy under overcast sky conditions and at high temperatures compared to traditional solar cells. This advantage is based on the unique properties of its organic semiconductor. In addition, HeliaFilm allows a wide range of colours and flexible layouts - both features sought after by architects and planners.

RECKLI and Heliatek have been working together for 3 years on smart façade solutions, which combine various concrete structures and HeliaFilm. By using different colours, concrete facades can be aesthetically enhanced and simultaneously supply energy to meet urban power requirements.

BIOPV is able to make an important contribution to the urban power needs. The carbon footprint in large cities can be significantly improved. One major advantage of using HeliaFilm is that there is no need for ventilation or cooling systems in order to operate effectively. Additional pilot projects of RECKLI and Heliatek are in the pipeline for 2016.  Market entry is planned for the second half of 2017.

"We focused for this pilot installation on how to combine the solar film and concrete modules in a reliable and aesthetic manner," explained Peter Henning, Sales Manager, RECKLI. "We want to demonstrate to architects, planners and investors, how the solar concrete future looks like."

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