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© ZSW / Jens Willebrand Photographie

Since last September, researchers from the Baden-Württemberg Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Centre (ZSW) and the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences (HFT) have been seeking to optimise the CIGS thin-film technology for facade applications in collaboration with their German industrial partners. So far, this has been largely neglected even though it offers a vast number of possibilities.

In the research project “Facade-integrated photovoltaic systems in CIGS technology”, the potential of CIGS facades to cover electrical and thermal energy requirements is therefore being examined. By varying the module design in terms of its energy yield, shade tolerance, ease of assembly and adjustability in size, the researchers hope to gain insights into how to optimize the entire system.

ZSW is therefore testing both the components and the entire system in comparative laboratory and field tests before operational data can be compiled on the CIGS test facade at the new ZSW institute building. This will form the basis of the subsequent simulation of the potential of CIGS facade systems to supply energy to buildings. In a sub-project, HTF is analysing various possibilities for integrating the PV facade into the building’s technical system. The focus will specifically be on linking the electricity and heat production by incorporating heat pumps into the PV facade.

The project runs until August 2020.