The launch of the new technology coincided with the announcement of a new entity – Emirates Insolaire, entrusted to introduce the breakthrough concept across the world.Emirates Insolaire is part of Glass LLC, the glass pioneers in the Middle East and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dubai Investments PJSC.
Emirates Insolaire is a joint venture using KromatixTM technology of SwissINSO SA, a Switzerland-based pioneer in the development and application of new solar technologies and products. The company will produce the solar glass at the Emirates Glass manufacturing facility in the UAE, which has been modified to adapt the new technology.
The breakthrough glass, developed in close collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology [EPFL – Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne], comes in virtually any colour. Optimised for both photovoltaic modules – which use cells to convert solar radiation into electricity – and solar thermal collectors, the glass provides a mat coloured, architecturally aesthetic appearance to solar panels, preserving more than 90% of efficiency.
Emirates Insolaire is targeting 10% of the global solar glass market within a short period. Over a billion square meters of solar glass – both photovoltaic and thermal – would be installed across the world by 2015, industry estimates reveal.
Khalid Bin Kalban, Managing Director and CEO of Dubai Investments, said: “We are thrilled with the launch of this revolutionary solar glass technology here, which could literally transform the manner in which we use solar energy for our homes, offices as well as the commercial buildings. This is a significant paradigm shift in solar glass technology, and we see significant growth opportunities going forward as we accelerate market penetration. The launch of this new technology and product is in line with the green initiatives undertaken by the Dubai government to diversify energy sources and we at Dubai Investments have remained committed to sustainable business practices which led us to the prestigious ISO certification for our DI Headquarters building earlier this year.”
He added: “Kromatix is a first-of-its-kind business model not only in the region, but across the entire world. The technology is highly sustainable and is a major innovation for potential application in commercial and residential projects across the region – blessed with natural sunshine all year round. The solar glass will be launched in two phases – the phase one would involve glass adapted with the new technology while the second phase would encompass the manufacturing of the entire architectural panels. This launch is part of our commitment to adopting the latest technological innovation and making us the pioneers in the glass industry.”
The coloured solar glass technology has already generated a lot of interest in the sector, with clients across several markets including Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, USA, Brazil, India, Singapore, Dominican Republic, among others, lined up to receive and certify their panels with the new technology from the manufacturing unit in the UAE.
The photovoltaic market, in particular, has achieved exponential growth globally over the years. The market was 40 GW (Gigawatts) in 2010, representing 200 million square meters of glass, and has grown 40% year-on-year. The number of installations foreseen for 2015 is 160 GW – approximately 800 million square meters of glass. The thermal solar glass market was 183 million square meters in 2006, and has been growing by 12% year-on-year since then. The faster growth pace today as well as for the future, is the photovoltaic integration on buildings.
The share of BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaic) for roofs and facades, one of the specialisations of Emirates Insolaire, is also witnessing rapid growth. It was 5% few years ago, and in the near future it is expected that the solar installations on roofs and facades will represent 60% of the total solar market.
Rafic Hanbali, Chairman and CEO of SwissINSO, said: “We are happy to work with Dubai Investments for the production of the coloured solar glass with KromatixTM technology. This launch provides us with a significant first-mover advantage, a one-stop complete process, especially considering that the market potential for coloured solar panel is huge. The coloured solar glass technology is expected to become the norm and standards in the construction industry over the next three to five years, particularly when considering the present and expected growth of solar integration into buildings. These buildings, by will or by law, will have to become energetically independent and KromatixTM is the only road available today for this integration”.
He added: “In order to maintain the high efficiency and provide the aesthetical appearance for the glass on façades, roof-tops and utility installations, the glass at Emirates Insolaire receives several treatments of interferential nano-metric layers on one side and surface treatment on the other side. The result is a beautiful, highly-efficient KromatixTM glass for solar energy with a masking effect occulting the inner captors, resulting in a mat non reflective surface.”
The solar glass generates electric power, has an aesthetic look and is highly sustainable. On one side, no material used in the technology causes any potential harm to the environment while on the other side it allows all buildings to help sustainability by offering their façades and roofs for green energy production.
It is a known fact that the sun produces enough energy in one minute to power the Earth’s population for an entire year. Each colored solar panel with KromatixTM technology can generate above 130 watts electric power per square meter on roofs or above 100 watts per square meter on façades. Approximately 2,000 panels on one building are capable of generating 200KW electric power.