Glas Trösch: The customisable printed front glass for solar modules

The customisable printed front glass for solar modules
Photo source
© Glas Trösch

Date: 24 February 2022

Now, with SWISSPANEL SOLAR, photovoltaic systems are able to fulfil the highest standards in terms of both function and visual appeal.

It is common knowledge that the sun’s energy is inexhaustible and is available to all of us free of charge. Accordingly, photovoltaics has for many years been one of the most sustainable ways of producing electricity. Alongside technical parameters, the visual appearance of photovoltaic modules (PV modules) is playing an increasingly important role. It is precisely here that SWISSPANEL SOLAR from Glas Trösch really comes into its own: the front glass can be printed with a bespoke design without having to accept major sacrifices in electricity yield. The print is designed to achieve the optimal balance between colour saturation and performance.

Now, with SWISSPANEL SOLAR, photovoltaic systems are able to fulfil the highest standards in terms of both function and visual appeal. The module design is applied using printing technology developed in close collaboration with the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. This allows a range of colours to be printed on the front glass of photovoltaic installations. The finished print has a surprisingly minor impact on the efficiency of the PV modules. Depending on the motif and colour, the efficiency of modules with a full-surface print is between 75 and 90 per cent of conventional solar installations.

Maximum flexibility in design

For the production of SWISSPANEL SOLAR, the front glass is finished with the ceramic digital print Colorprint CP. The process ensures maximum flexibility with regard to individual design and colour requirements. Options include full-surface colour prints as well as patterns, photos and even logos. The thermal toughening process, which burns the colour permanently into the second position of the glass sheet, results in either a toughened safety glass or a partially toughened glass as end product, which protects the PV modules and printed motifs from wind and weather. A further advantage is that there is no change in the structure of the PV modules, as the transparent glass is straightforwardly replaced by the printed glass.

Use on roofs and façades

SWISSPANEL SOLAR can be incorporated into both façades and roofs. On the building envelope, the printed front glass stands out among other things thanks to the subtle colours and intricate patterning, in which the underlying function is only revealed on closer inspection. On roofs, the PV modules can also be designed to be particularly unobtrusive and to adapt to the surrounding roof cladding. As such, SWISSPANEL SOLAR is even suitable for installation on cultural heritage buildings.

Despite the modifications in design, SWISSPANEL SOLAR performs at the same level as standard PV modules in terms of life cycle analysis and is also convincing from an environmental perspective. The indicator of “environmental impact points” that is commonly used in Switzerland only increases by less than one per cent. Moreover, the printed front glass fulfils all current European-wide requirements for safety, quality and durability and is certified according to ICE standards.

The promotion of renewable energies is essential if we are to improve the carbon footprint, so that future generations can also look forward to a liveable world. Solar systems are playing a vital role in achieving this aim. With SWISSPANEL SOLAR, which is not only functional but also serves to optimise the visual appearance of façades and roofs, the architecture is able to benefit just as much as nature.

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