Smart Glass Coatings for Innovative BIPV Solutions
Publication from Materials
Licht und Optische Technologien
R. Trattnig, G. Cattaneo, Y. Voronko, G. C. Eder, D. Moor, F. Jamschek, T. Buchsteiner
Sustainability 2021 13(22), 12775, 11/2021
The glossy appearance of the cover glass of a photovoltaic module is mainly responsible for giving the module a mirroring effect, which is often disturbing in the case of building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) façade applications. In this work, an innovative approach is presented to reduce the glare of BIPV modules by applying surface coatings to the front glass of the module. Three different glass coating technologies, applied on the outer surface of the photovoltaic module, were investigated: inkjet printing, screen printing, and sol-gel spray coating. The coatings, applied by these technologies in three different colours (grey, anthracite, and terracotta), were characterized with respect to their adhesion, light transmission, and reflection. Their chemical and physical stability after stress impact (condensed water resistance and chemical resistance against acids and salt-fog) was also investigated. The durability of these coatings was further evaluated after performing environmental simulations with artificial sunlight (xenon weathering) on coated glass. Additionally, accelerated aging tests (damp-heat testing, temperature cycling) were performed on the test modules to assess their performance stability. For those coatings, where no stress-induced changes in colour or the optical appearance of the module surface were detected, the potential for the architectural integration of the modules into building facades is high. A minimum glare of less than 0.1% of the specular reflection could be achieved. On the basis of the results of the optical characterization and the durability tests, grey screen-printed BIPV solar modules were installed in a demonstrator test façade. The high electrical performance, resulting in only a 10–11% performance decrease compared to the noncoated reference modules, perfectly showed the suitability of screen-printing in future applications for coloured and glare-reduced BIPV installations.