Solution

Solar Visuals

Revolutionary energy producing cladding material

During this years’ Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven the launch of the company Solar Visuals has taken place. This startup, founded by ECN part of TNO, printing specialist TS Visuals and arch tech company UNSense, introduces a revolutionary new cladding material that combines high production of solar energy with visual design aesthetics. The application of this cladding material in the façades and surfaces of buildings creates opportunities for energy production in the built environment on a large scale. With this technology buildings in the future will become batteries that provide the energy needed for their own use and more. The innovative combination of full colour print and high efficiency photovoltaic material make the Solar Visuals panels smart, efficient and visually attractive at once.

Check out the Solar Visuals products

Products

Smart, efficient and highly aesthetic

By providing a new surface finish and appearance, Dutch Solar Design changes PV modules from sustainable, yet somewhat disruptive elements, into a recognisable construction material with endless possibilities – capable of adding design value to the appearance of buildings.

“Solar Visuals is a flexible, highly aesthetic, efficient and affordable cladding material that enables architects, engineers and developers to apply solar panels on a much larger scale”, Thijs Sepers of Solar Visuals Business Development says.
The Solar Visuals-panel is a combination of photovoltaic material that produces solar energy an integrated full-colour print that can be designed by the client. John van Roosmalen (Research & Technology, Solar Visuals) says: “The panels are available in different sizes, colours and prints. We continuously look for the right strategic balance between maximum energy production and nice visual design quality.”

DSD PV modules have, like normal PV modules, a layered build-up structure. The special design layer is integrated to assure high durablity. DSP-PV makes use of novel back-contact solar cells but also conventional H-pattern solar cells can be used. The back panel is specially designed for façade integration. To maintain energy output, a patented dot printing software technology was created by UNStudio’s research platform and partner companies. This technology is capable of translating images into a setup of dots of different coverage ratios, controlling colour, contrast, brightness and a degree of randomness in the final effect. Based on the principle of rasterisation, the dot pattern plays with the perception of the human eye: zooming in, one can discern the separate dots, zooming out, the dots are perceived as one amalgamated image. This revolutionary dot pattern technique enables the optimisation of energy output without compromising creative freedom and artistic expression.

UNStudio has supported UNSense in developing architectural strategies to provide a range of design choices, not only for use in their own projects, but also for other architects. A predefined toolbox offering standardised designs and standardised rasterisation coverages is available to apply these design principles. Pilot projects have been initiated and will be developed in the coming months.

Partners

Dutch Solar Design

The Solar Visual-panels, also known as Dutch Solar Design PV-modules, are developed by the research consortium Dutch Solar Design, formed by ECN part of TNO, architectural office UNStudio/ UNSense, printing specialist TS Visuals, the Design Innovation Group, façade specialist Aldowa and the research team Urban Technology of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA). For the market introduction and sales of the product the Solar Visuals Ltd. was founded and its shareholders are TNO, TS Visuals and UNSense.
The project received a grant from the Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO). Design