At last, photovoltaic (PV) panels are available in colors other than deep blue and black. PV panels collect solar energy and turn it in to electrical power. Deep blue and black absorb the most sun light and make the panels more effective and efficient. However, these color limitations, along with other challenges such as high cost, have mostly relegated them to discreet locations, typically roof tops.
Engineers at the Centre Suisse d’Electronique et Microtechnique (CSEM), a non-profit Swiss technology company, have developed a unique solar panel by adding a filter that blocks visible light. This makes the panels appear white to the human eye, while still collecting the infrared light that is converted in to electricity.
In this same manner, any color you wish for can be incorporated in to the panels. Imagine the colorful options that can bring PV panels off the roof and to the forefront in integrated building sheathing. This greatly expands the role of building exteriors beyond keeping us warm and dry.
CSEM has developed the technology that allows their filters to be added to existing systems. Currently printed surfaces are available from inkjet to screen to gravure. Anti-reflective coatings reduce glare and eliminate dreaded bird strikes.
They work with architects and engineers to incorporate their current devices and develop new systems integrating their technology. Their expertise is broad from development to prototyping to monitoring and creating complete solutions from storage to grid. Ideally, the PV components are multi-purpose, providing thermal insulation and light transmittance.
Photography courtesy of CSEM