Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research, Stuttgart, Germany

Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research

Photovoltaics belong to seminal technologies that make sustainability possible. Quite visible on roofs or open spaces, PV is less identifiable and so far little used as "Building-Integrated Photovoltaics" (BIPV).
The Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research in Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) is working on new PV technologies and would like to advance the development of climate-friendly technologies, e.g. with innovative thin-film PV modules that are very suitable for use on or in facades. This opens up new possibilities for decentralized energy generation, as the façade of a building with several floors offers more usable space than the roof.
ZSW's new institute in Stuttgart's Engineering Park (STEP) is showing what is being researched here with its shell, as it is largely equipped with specially developed thin-film modules: The façade and its integrated PV elements with an area of around 170 m² / 1,800 sf² and a peak output of around 27 kW are black and form a homogeneous glass surface. The 230 modules integrated horizontally on the partially greened roof have an output of approx. 20 kW. A building equipped with vertically mounted modules on the façade can benefit from a low sun during the morning and evening hours as well as during winter. The façade is also designed so that modules can be easily replaced individually for test purposes.
The climate and energy concept developed with Transsolar is based on a system with 32 geothermal probes in conjunction with slab activation. In summer, heat pumps use this system to remove excess heat from rooms and processes into the ground, and in the winter they collect heat from the underground and make it available for heating, which covers about half of the heat requirement. This technology is also used for the process cooling required in the institute. Foyers and atriums are naturally ventilated.
Because of its research laboratories, it has a high energy requirement. The additional electricity required for this is purchased from a certified green electricity supplier; the ZSW aims to achieve a climate-neutral energy supply by 2020.