Aesthetic Energy Panels
- In Taiwan, a new company has caused quite a stir in the solar panels market. Heliartec, the aforementioned company, has introduced a technology called Aesthetic Solar Panels (AEP).
AEP combines the technological advancements in Solar Module Technology, with the aesthetic requirements of the 21st Century.
Heliartec has begun to offers panels that simulate natural designs and structures. Using BIPV, they replicate different textures instead of the generic blue-ish solar modules. These exteriors can come as rock, marble, stone, wood and so much more. The company boasts customizable and personalized patterns that customers can request/order. Various architects and developer firms have shown a keen interest in this technology as it encourages green-energy, without it being an eye-sore.
These Aesthetic Energy Panels can also print appealing graphical patterns instead of these basic textures. The special glass surfaces offered by the company allow the designer/owner to simulate any pattern they envision. To add a cherry on top of this, the glass has a silky exterior, making the patterns more lively and vivid and also effectively reducing reflected glare.
The company has offered various uses of its panels. One such usage which is an example of sustainable design is that of safety glass. The energy panels can print and tint the colors of safety glass, serving as an alternative. Regular safety glass, commonly used in ventilation structures, only serves one purpose. If replaced by the AEP, not only will it do the same work as before, but it can turn the building into a generator of clean energy. Making the structure self-sustainable and significantly greener.
Heliartec, although very young (having started in 2017), have already gained various partners for manufacturing in China and Taiwan. The representative for business development for Heliartec, Mr Andre Feenstra, told a reporting outlet that the company plans on using the manufacturing abilities of its OEM partners to create a yearly minimum of 100,000 square meters of panels. He stated this target will ensure the company meets its goals of developing and spreading further.
The effectiveness of the company in meeting the above target can be seen by how their product circulation and distribution channels have also reached Europe, namely in Norway and Italy. Mr Feenstra further stated that Heliartec aims to spread these Aesthetic Solar Panels in other European countries as well, and aims to target the EU market. He discussed how the company is currently preparing to expand its distribution channels in the United States, Japan and of-course, China.
The one thing that has made the Aesthetic Energy Panels so effective in entering the market is their affordability. The cost is almost equivalent to already used structure products such as ordinary safety or security glass. Add the ability to generate electricity through the energy panels, and you have yourself a bargain.
If we go more into the specifics and science of these panels, we’ll learn how, for the case of wood-based exteriors, the timber color is achieved using ceramic inks. The ink is melted and then strengthened on the inner portion of the front panel glass. This is done under high temperatures of 700+ Degree Celsius to ensure resistance to fading. They then add another glass layer on the opposite end, repeating the same process. This allows for the color to be sandwiched within two panels, making for a sturdy setup that protects from various weathering agents. A patented process involving Butyl rubber, and thermal-edge sealing technology is further used to seal both the layers of glass, offering moisture protection and ensuring the efficiency of the mono-crystalline solar cells. To conclude this process, the Aesthetic Solar Panels are laminated by polyvinyl butyral (PVB), the company has stated that they don’t use EVA film as it can delaminate whereas PVB is proven to be significantly tougher.
The panels are currently available in four classic timber shades, ranging from oak to walnuts, with two other variations. The sizes offered by the company go from 60 to 240 cm or 30-150 cm. Under the dimensions chosen by the customer, the AEP can offer power outputs of 90 Watts or 150 Watts, per square meter.
In 2020, the company further added to its growing reputation by winning the International Red Dot: Best Products Design award, beating various other global developers. Making Heliartec and their Aesthetic Solar Panels, a force to be reckoned with.