Run by the sun
Run by the sun

Working with architects in Leicester on solar architecture projects

Friday 16 October 2015

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Solar panels integrated on a cottage in Montrose. Picture Credit


'Corporate social responsibility', the 'impact on the environment', 'energy efficiency'. These are all phrases that constantly get thrown about when we talk about sustainable living. It was only last week the government introduced a new 5p bag charge in order to reduce the number of plastic bags we use in order to claim £13m in carbon savings over the next decade.

It was greeted with a huge groan of displeasure, however although it may seem insignificant every little helps. Similarly, in order to tackle environmental impacts of certain operations and processes solar energy technology has an important role to play.

Solar architecture is more than just solar panels placed on roofs

Solar panels haven't always been a go-to building material for architects. This has possibly been because of their aesthetic or the cost of installing a PV solar system when the technology was still in its infancy. However, the price of solar panels in the UK continues to drop as the industry gathers momentum and so solar increasingly becomes a more viable option.

Building-integrated solar PV

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Building facade made up of solar modules. Picture Credit


As advances in solar panel technology continue to be made, there is certainly the opportunity to be more creative when integrating solar energy into a new building. It's possible to seamlessly integrate solar and overcome any aesthetic issues. The technology is becoming so advanced, solar modules have been integrated into stained glass windows.

Typical applications for building-integrated PV solar include,

  • Flat roofs. Types of of solar panels vary depending on the requirement. It is possible to use semi-flexible solar PV technology we often use on narrow boats.
  • Pitched roofs. Solar panels can be shaped like roof tiles to seamlessly integrate.
  • Facades. Whether it's on a new building or an existing property, solar panels can be fitted.
  • Glazing. Semi-transparent modules can be used as a replacement to glass building materials.

If you are an architect and you would like to discuss the ways in which PV solar can be integrated into your next commercial or residential building project, please don't hesitate to contact Simon Butt on 0116 270 1926.