This is the first major international architecture project in which the new products on the basis of organic photovoltaic technology (OPV) are being used. In contrast with conventional solar modules, the flexible film-integrated OPV modules from BELECTRIC OPV GmbH can be integrated in Schmidhuber's innovative architectural design without any problem.
"Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life" is the topic of the EXPO 2015, which is taking place in Milan from May until October 2015. With the motto of "Fields of Ideas" Germany will be attending the event as a lively, fruitful "landscape" which is full of ideas for the nutrition of the future. The key design element of the pavilion are the stylized plants which are supposed to "germinate ideas", and grow from the floor of the exhibition to create a roof of foliage. The organic and flowing language of design, the economical use of resources and space, the lean technologies and intelligent constructions will all come together in the pavilion.
The energy-generating solar trees will be designed with the help of BELECTRIC OPV modules. "Organic photovoltaics are opening up brand new possibilities in the field of architecture. They match with the specifications of the architects and designers - and not the other way around," explains Hermann Issa, Director of Business Development & Sales at BELECTRIC OPV and Project Manager for the use of OPV in the German pavilion.
"The solar trees connect the interior and exterior space, the architecture and exhibition, and also provide shade during the sunny months of the EXPO. We weren't only able to use an existing technology here, we were also able to configure everything, through to the visual appearance of the modules, and link it in with the overall design," explains Lennart Wiechell, Head Architect and Managing Partner at Schmidhuber. "The OPV modules also contribute to reducing the external use of energy in the area of the building and therefore to saving resources."
"In order to realize the OPV based system for the German pavilion, a highly qualified network of partners has been created which will manage the individual topics according to the appropriate skills," explains Dr. Ralph Pätzold, CEO of BELECTRIC OPV. "As the project-leading company, together with Carl Stahl GmbH, U.I. Lapp GmbH, Merck KGaA and with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, we are developing the integrated OPV system for the German pavilion in Milan, which organically slots into the Schmidhuber architectural concept." This new product will thus be presented to an international audience during the EXPO as the ideal platform.
The project also demonstrates the considerable potential of organic photovoltaics in the area of building integration. Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) is one of the biggest potential growth markets for photovoltaics. As shown in a study by the specialist group for photovoltaics of the German Federal Association Bundesverband Bausysteme e.V., in Germany alone, 3,000 km2 of space is available on buildings which could be equipped with BIPV. The space available on building shells is currently therefore more than enough to cover the electricity volume intended in the energy mix with BIPV.