The demand for energy efficiency of buildings and on-site electricity production is rising. Building integrated photovoltaic can provide a part of the electricity demand. Many studies are related to the module efficiency. However, architectural integration, optical and thermal properties also require attention. Semi-transparent modules are especially interesting for architectural integration in the glazed part of the façade. Dye sensitized solar cells, offering color and semi-transparency, are in the process of market introduction. However, dye-sensitized solar cells are fragile and there are not many examples of architectural integration due to the technical challenge of introducing these cells in a glazing. A glazing containing colored photovoltaic modules could be used to design an active façade. In order to determine the thermal behaviour of the building, the precise optical and thermal properties of the used materials need to be known. Performances of semi-transparent photovoltaic modules based on dye-sensitized solar cells were investigated. These modules come from the same manufacturer, using the same technology. However, they differ in terms of shades and nuances. Common practice is to indicate optical properties at normal angle of incidence. Yet, for most latitudes, the properties for a large range of angles of incidence are more relevant. Therefore, the spectral transmittance and the reflectance were measured at 12 angles of incidence ranging from 0° to 75°. From these data, the solar direct transmittance τe, the solar direct reflectance ρe and the visible transmittance τv and selectivity were calculated. The solar gain factor was determined on a prototype double glazing under illumination with a solar simulator by measuring the temperatures of the external and inner surface of the product. Combined with the values of absorptance obtained from the transmittance and reflectance values, this measurement allows us to determine the internal heat transfer coefficient qi and thus the solar gain factor of the double glazing (also called total energetic transmittance or g-value). Final performance of a façade containing these modules will depend on the composition of the double glazing in which they will be laminated. The performance of the module itself will help to determine the best composition for each climate. For instance, a solar protection coating may be needed. The modules can be laminated to a glass pane and then be assembled in a double glazing. Therefore the architectural integration is facilitated and compatible with existing façade systems. In highly glazed building, apart of the façade could then be a photovoltaic façade and deliver a fraction of the energy demand while providing colourful options to enhance the aesthetic of the building.
Bouvard, O., Vanzo, S., & Schüler, A. (2015). Experimental determination of optical and thermal properties of semi-transparent photovoltaic modules based on dye-sensitized solar cells. In Energy Procedia (Vol. 78, pp. 453–458). Elsevier Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.egypro.2015.11.696