Vitro Architectural Glass launches Solarvolt™ BIPV glass modules

To meet design and environmental performance targets, Solarvolt™ BIPV modules can be used with any Vitro low-emissivity (low-e) coating and glass substrate - BedZED, London, England

Vitro Architectural Glass announced the launch of Solarvolt™ building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) glass modules, which combine aesthetics and performance of Vitro Glass products with CO2-free power generation and protection from the elements for commercial buildings.

For overhead glazing, façades, balconies and sunshading elements, Solarvolt™ building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) modules merge renewable power generation with glass design – Public Safety Building, Salt Lake City, Utah

Solarvolt™ BIPV modules can be used to enhance various components of commercial building exteriors, including balustrades and balconies, overhead glazing and skylights, façades and opacified spandrel glass – all while passively generating solar power, reducing air conditioning costs and even replacing conventional cladding materials.

Solarvolt™ BIPV façades can integrate structural, insulated and/or opacified spandrel glass for maximum energy generation – PUMA Plaza, Herzogenaurach, Germany

To meet a wide range of design and environmental performance targets, Solarvolt™ BIPV modules can be used with virtually any Vitro Glass product, including Starphire Ultra-Clear® glass, Acuity™ low-iron glass and the company’s full range of tinted glasses. Performance can be further optimized by using Solarban® solar control, low-emissivity (low-e) coatings.

“Solarvolt™ BIPV modules are the next step in enhancing the sustainability and energy efficiency of Vitro’s range of architectural glass products,” said Nathan McKenna, director of marketing and innovation at Vitro Architectural Glass. “We’re proud to offer yet another way to utilize our products to support increasingly stringent environmental and performance codes in commercial construction projects without compromising design or aesthetics.”

Solarvolt™ BIPV modules are available in a variety of configurations, including multiple solar cell arrangements and three unique photovoltaic crystalline silicone types for various effects on aesthetics and performance. The range of design options makes it possible to use Solarvolt™ BIPV modules to create dynamic, colourful designs.

“Solarvolt™ BIPV modules are an excellent way to bolster a project’s energy efficiency and stack sustainability benefits,” added McKenna. “If you’re already installing a wall, balcony or roof that uses glass, why not also let it generate electricity?”

Vitro will manufacture Solarvolt™ BIPV modules using both glass-glass composite — solar panels with solar cells arranged between two glass lites — and glass-film techniques. The modules will be available in sizes up to 98″ x 146″ and in thicknesses of up to two 12mm lites.

Vitro Architectural Glass has long been committed to sustainability as both the first U.S. glass manufacturer to have its entire collection of architectural glass products recognized by the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program and the first North American float glass manufacturer to publish third-party verified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for its Flat Glass and Processed Glass products. This latest offering represents Vitro’s recommitment to realizing the full potential for environmentally friendly glass innovations on a global scale.

To realize its offering of Solarvolt™ BIPV modules, Vitro Architectural Glass acquired assets from solarnova, a Germany-based manufacturer of BIPV modules with successful commercial installations throughout Europe and North America.

Solarvolt™ BIPV modules have been previously tested by Kiwa, according to IEC standards, under the solarnova brand. All Solarvolt™ BIPV certifications and warranties are registered under ILUMIMEX S.A. de C.V., a Vitro company. Solarvolt™ BIPV also is undergoing new certification testing to IEC, UL and CAN/CSA standards and is pursuing CEC and SGCC certification.