Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Wooden solar panels?

Greetings from the Energy Change Institute Open Day at the Australian National University in Canberra. During his keynote presentation, Professor Armin Aberle, from Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS), mentioned the problem of architects accepting solar panels on buildings. I suggested collaborating with architects who are exploring using new modular building techniques, such as BVN, with the ANU Kambri complex, opened yesterday. 

Professor Aberle, pointed out that high rise buildings have relatively little roof space and there is now technology for transparent panels which can be used as windows. But these panels need to look good, and need to be easy to install. The new student towers at ANU have prefabricated wooden panels hung on the outside. These are covered with ceramic "biscuits" in a factory, and conventional windows, before installation. This system could be used with solar panels and translucent panel windows. These would be hung on the building and then plugged into the grid.

Prefabricated solar building panels  could be relatively low-tech, with the same mounting systems as used for buildings simply screwed to the wooden building panels.  The solar elements would be attached and wired to a plug. The completed panels would be stacked on a truck. After lifting into place the panels would be plugged in.

ps: I am a member of the ANU Energy Change Institute, teaching ICT sustainability to masters students.

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