Diffusion of solar energy use in the built environment supported by new design

Marina van Geenhuizen, Joop Schoonman, Angèle Reinders

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Places of large potentials of sustainable energy production and places of large energy consumption are often very different and separated by large distances across the globe. This paper first discusses potentials of solar technology in terms of global availability using PV (photovoltaic) technology and actual energy production. Solar energy is widely under-used and one way to reduce this is to improve production in low-energy places with high demand: large cities. According to this option, about 40% of the electricity consumption in the built environment could be produced by solar PV systems and energy storage systems. This paper discusses conditions in the built environment and functional and design qualities enabling an increased diffusion of the technologies. In a comparative analysis of PV technologies, the criteria taken into account encompass efficiency of the type of solar cell and commercial availability. Special attention is paid to the design features of different PV systems, like flexibility, colour and transparency that might help in their utilization as integrated in building material and ornaments in modern architecture. The same procedure is followed for electricity storage devices. The preliminary conclusion is that at present the freedom of design is largest for a combination of crystalline silicon PV cells and Li-ion batteries
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-260
JournalJournal of civil engineering and architecture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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