Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) demands multifunctional roof and façade elements that are architecturally relevant, active energy-producing components that add aesthetic value. CSEM is using its extensive knowledge of polymers, adhesion, interfaces, and lamination processes to develop PV panels that come in a variety of shapes and colors but are still as cost-effective and long lasting as those made from standard materials. We’re also developing innovative elements such as dynamic building envelopes and climate-adaptive shell facades and working to reduce costs through new PV module designs and mounting systems. PV elements are also being integrated into other systems, with great potential in the mobility field, and—for example—in solar-charging covers for various devices. Providing equipment that is efficient in terms of power performance and integration, and rendering the PV element almost “invisible,” are two of our goals.
Modules need to be reliable in any use scenario, and resist exposure to the harsh environments created by voltage, UV, humidity, cold, and heat. That’s why we’re developing new packaging solutions, ranging from compounding and polymer extrusion to lamination processes, and also why we’re working on novel testing methodologies to better simulate field conditions and get quicker feedback about quality.