NEW GENERATION SOLAR TECHNOLOGY
The vision of turning buildings into Power Stations
Investing in a contemporary home using beautiful standing seam technology then covering the surface with Crystalline Glass Solar panels was not an option for one proud self-builder at Graven Hill, Bicester. Instead, he selected Peel and stick’ flexible Flextron solar modules, manufactured in the UK by BIPVco. The Integrated modules offer an ‘almost invisible’ solar solution.
The client designed his new home with an array of technologies to make it more efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly. First on his wish-list was low carbon solar generation. With each module at 358mm wide the opportunity to lay the modules between the standing seams was an obvious and rewardingly aesthetic proposition. Then realising that the Snaplock® standing seam trays could be narrowed in order to increase the area available to solar generation the seams were slightly modified to 400mm wide. Ideally locating the plot with the best orientation to maximise the harvest of the sunlight was a key influencer in the decision-making process. The Flextron cells will generate valuable power even in low light situations.
Thin, Flexible Modules Bonded to Roof where the optimum solution as the client didn’t want to lose the elegant form provided by the metal roof by loading the roof with large format traditional solar panels being fitted on top. The thin, flexible solar modules which are bonded elegantly between the standing seams are almost Invisible. From a distance you would hardly know they are there thus contributing to the design of the house.
The Flextron System is ultra-thin at 2.5mm and contain integrated solar cells, which are then pre-bonded to an approved roofing material, in this case GreenCoat PLX Pro in a complimentary Mountain Grey. Flextron modules have a Teflon coated self-cleaning top sheet, a competitive cell efficiency of up to 17%, and a low installed weight of less than 3kg/m2 which combined with the roofing metal is under 8kg/m2.
Pros and Cons must always be considered. There is a compromise in maximum power out in perfect light conditions. However, it’s important not to focus solely on peak performance, the overall yield must be considered. Add to this the low maintenance and the considerable aesthetical value the Flextron is arguably a more attractive solution. The increased surface area created by reducing slightly the standing seam widths has allowed a decent sized domestic system.
The aesthetic advantage is significant and with modules bonded directly to the GreenCoat there is no detrimental build-up from leaf litter, no issue created by wind load and no residential vermin, a problem associated with Pigeon’s roosting, a potential issue with traditional frame mounted panels.
Simple to install the Flextron modules offer an added value opportunity for the traditional metal roof installer along with an environmental credibility. The modules would ideally be bonded in factory-controlled conditions but could be installed on-site with ideal weather conditions. Warrantied for 25 years.