The prototype "solar systems" are among the collection of new products that Hydro will showcase at the international building exhibition, which begins November 5 and continues through November 10 at the Paris Expo. "There are innovations in these products that can bring the future closer to today, " says Lars Hauk Ringvold, who is responsible for Hydro's aluminium building systems activities. Visitors to the company's displays at Batimat will see windows, doors, balcony railings and facades that have integrated photovoltaic systems. "With such systems built into relevant products, we have the potential to achieve energy savings above 60 percent, " says Ringvold.
The prototypes are the result of a successful pre-project between Hydro and Ascent Solar Technologies, a Denver-based company which manufactures the flexible thin-film photovoltaic modules. Hydro owns 23 percent of Ascent Solar. "Ascent's solar modules provide a simple, elegant and architecturally attractive means to incorporate photovoltaics into buildings, " says Ringvold. Matthew Foster, Ascent Solar's president and CEO, says the company is "excited about all the innovative applications that Hydro has already envisioned for our modules. Our collective vision is to make solar power a transparent and pervasive element in the everyday lives of people throughout the world."