Harnessing the power of the sun through new solar panel facade for LEED credit and net zero buildings
Solstex, by Elemex® Architectural Facade Systems, is a new revolutionary solar facade system that enables architects to incorporate lightweight photovoltaic (PV) panels into a building’s facade to generate renewable energy.
Responding to the need for environmental solutions in the building industry, Solstex turns sunlight into energy by leveraging high-efficiency, weather resistant solar panels that not only reduce a building’s carbon footprint, but also earn LEED credits. Solstex can help achieve LEED certification with up to five credits available if 40% of the building’s electricity comes from onsite renewable energy sources.
Solstex is a sustainable option from both an energy and a financial point of view. “Solstex is the only facade that actively benefits the environment while providing a return on investment,” explains Hugh Lowry, Special Projects Engineer at Elemex®. The financial savings will cover the cost of installation in as little as 5 years, depending on the project.
Solstex solar panels are made from thin-film cadmium telluride (CdTe) semiconductor technology encapsulated between two sheets of heat-strengthened glass and adhered to the exterior wall using Elemex’s proprietary Unity® attachment technology.
The Unity® system allows architects and builders to create surface veneers on the same plane while integrating the solar panels with stone, ceramic and aluminum. “Our platform is our strength. Giving architects the ability to mix and match solar with other materials is key, especially because solar panels tend to only come in standard sizes,” says Lowry.
“Solstex is ideal for tall buildings in urban environments where the footprint is minimized and the roofs are small,” says Lowry. “If you’re trying to build a net-zero apartment building, there’s no way you are going to get all your solar panels on the roof to generate enough electricity to make the building net-zero. Solstex solar panels on the facade makes net -zero high-rise buildings possible.”
At just 3.5 lbs per square foot, Solstex panels are easy to install and deliver significantly more energy than other photovoltaic (PV) panels, at up to 16.9 W/sq. ft. resulting in over 420 W per large panel. Solstex presents a floating glass look free of edge coverings and electrical busbars and is UV resistant to maintain appearance over time.
Designed to withstand all kinds of weather, Solstex is good in all light conditions, whether it is bright or cloudy. The panels also have an efficient temperature coefficient and perform better in hotter conditions than traditional panels.
Solstex is backed with a 25-year Linear Performance Warranty, and a 1-year manufacture, 10-year limited surface warranty. The recycling process at the end of its lifespan is effective and simple, allowing for approximately 90 percent of the glass and semiconductor material recovery.
“The need to source reliable, renewable energy is at an all-time high,” explains Lowry. “Between the price of solar coming down and the need for environmental solutions in the energy market, the time is right to introduce a building product like Solstex.”
Visit the Solstex page for more information and to download the Solstex brochure.