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Steel plus flexible thin-film solar modules from ThyssenKrupp Bausysteme

ThyssenKrupp Steel : 14 January, 2003  (New Product)
Since 1999, Dinslaken/Germany-based ThyssenKrupp Bausysteme has been offering a unique modular solar energy system based on steel profiles which not only provides a simple method of renovating facades and roofs but also gives buildings a new look in colors matched to their surroundings, architecture and use, while at the same time generating electricity from the sun's rays. The latest elements in the range of Thyssen-Solartec modules also feature an integrated insulating layer of PUR hard foam to prevent heat loss.
In the fall of last year, ThyssenKrupp Bausysteme was able to add a further impressive reference to its list with the completion of a 4-month project to renovate the facade of ThyssenKrupp Stahl AG's hot strip slitting facility in Duisburg/Germany. The new facade, refurbished in shades of green, integrates dark blue to violet Solartec modules in a wave-like arrangement. This innovative combination of color and design not only helps the building blend in with its surroundings, it is also a real eye-catcher.

What's more, the Solartec system, which covers an area of 1,000 square meters, generates over 50 kilowatt peak of direct current, which is converted to alternating current before being fed into the grid of local utility RWE. Despite the fact that the angle of incidence is relatively unfavorable, the system is expected to generate up to 32,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, enough to supply eight houses.

Triple-junction technology
ThyssenKrupp Bausysteme uses Uni-Solar solar cell technology for its Thyssen-Solartec roof and facade system. Nine thin-film layers of nanocrystalline silicon alloy are laminated together using a continuous roll-to-roll deposition process. The solar laminate comprises three stacked transparent solar cells which react to different light wave lengths. This thin-film technology renders the solar cells relatively independent of the angle of the sun's rays: even if part of the facade is at a sub-optimal angle to the sun, or the weather is foggy or cloudy, the photovoltaic modules used in the system still produce a high output. The use of nanocrystalline silicon means that these elements can average up to 20 percent higher energy efficiency over a year than conventional crystalline modules, which additionally require substructures for mounting on building roofs or facades.

A further technical feature increases efficiency when parts of the roof or facade panels are in shadow: during the laminating process, Uni-Solar interconnects the individual cells with bypass diodes, so that the shadowing of individual cells does not deactivate the entire module, but merely causes a partial reduction in output.

ThyssenKrupp Bausysteme then laminates the solar cell package onto color-coated steel sheet to produce light, robust and stable elements which, by contrast with crystalline photovoltaic cells, require no support structures and no heavy protective glass covers. Contractors planning to include a solar energy system in new buildings or renovation projects can save on the costs of roofing or outer facades and do not need to worry about how to fix the solar panels to the roof.

The latest Thyssen-Solartec module variant not only produces but also conserves energy via an additional PUR insulating layer: ThyssenKrupp Bausysteme now provides its classic Thermodach and Thermowand sandwich elements with the solar laminate from Uni-Solar. 'Solartec is an interesting product which actively generates energy, passively conserves energy through insulation, provides protection against the weather and also performs a structural function,' says Ullrich Finger, managing Director of ThyssenKrupp Bausysteme.

Interesting design options with Thyssen-Solartec
The Thyssen-Solartec facade and roof system combines ideally with products from ThyssenKrupp Stahl's 'ReflectionsOne' range of color-coated steels. ThyssenKrupp Bausysteme supplies the steel profiles in matching shades from the ReflectionsOne system, while the cover strips for the solar laminate substrates can be coated in the same or different colors. ThyssenKrupp Bausysteme is thus supporting the aims and ideas of color designer Friedrich Ernst von Garnier, who developed ReflectionsOne - to combine color, design and innovative solar energy into a harmonious whole.
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