15 June 2012
Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) has launched polycarbonate building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) panels for roofing, cladding and glazing applications at Intersolar Europe 2012 occurring this week at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre (booth A5.530) in Munich, Germany.
This solution, called the Lexan BIPV panel, is from SABIC's Innovative Plastics business and provides architects and builders with enhanced design freedom, thermal insulation, easy installation and energy production in a single, integrated solution. Created through a close collaboration with Solbian Energie Alternative, Lexan BIPV panels combine the tough, lightweight, transparent Lexan Thermoclear polycarbonate sheet with flexible PV laminated crystalline cells from Solbian and are available in a broad range of structures, configurations and colours. Lexan BIPV panels demonstrate SABIC's deep commitment to its customers by supporting the evolving trends and environmental needs for more sustainable designs while driving improved material technologies in the building and construction industry.
The flexible photovoltaic (PV) panels from Solbian are made with monocrystalline cells with efficiency up to 23%, which are embedded in polymers with high-resilience technology to make them flexible. They are also highly resistant to harsh weather conditions.
One of the top benefits of Lexan BIPV panels is design freedom. Compared to traditional BIPV materials, the SABIC panels can be easily cold-bended on site to form graceful, curved roofing systems integrating daylight and PV. By using semi-transparent Lexan BIPV panel modules, designers can create unique day-lighting features in façade, roofing or skylight systems.
In addition, the new panels provide high performance, beginning with good thermal insulation and light management that are hallmarks of the Lexan Thermoclear sheet. The new panels can reduce energy consumption by up to 17% vs. traditional high-return, double-pane glass glazing. They help to reduce cooling load and glare associated with large expanses of architectural glazing. This virtually unbreakable, ultraviolet (UV) protected polycarbonate material promotes safety and is durable for a long useful life.
Another important benefit of Lexan BIPV panels is that they are lightweight, which can make them less expensive to transport and easy and quick to assemble. Compared to heavy glass panels or standard PV panels, Lexan BIPV panels can deliver potential savings on installation time and costs. Also, the panels can be used with a lighter supporting steel framework than glass requires, which may reduce material and shipping costs.
Lexan BIPV panels are available in 10 millimetre (mm), 16mm, 20mm, 25mm and 40 mm gauges, in rectangular and X wall configurations and include a colour palette of clear, opal white, bronze, green, blue and gray.
The drive to reduce energy consumption is one of the highest priorities in building and construction today. Based on average material costs, green building materials represented approximately $14.5 billion (USD) in cumulative spending through 2010, and are expected to reach nearly $120 billion by 2030 (according to the GreenBiz Group). BIPV panels are increasingly incorporated into the construction of new buildings as a principal or ancillary source of electrical power, although existing buildings may be retrofitted with BIPV modules as well.
The new Lexan BIPV panels comply with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) EN ISO/IEC 17025, EIC 61215 and IEC 61730-2 standard certifications and contribute to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification system. The panels, which will be commercially available from SABIC in the second half of 2012, have already been installed at a SABIC manufacturing facility in Italy.