INTEGRATION OF ROOFTOP SOLAR DURING THE DESIGNING
When the process of integration enhances the architectural quality of the building, it is called architectural integration. Integration also doesn’t mean that the PV is used in such a way that they are not recognizable. It isn’t necessarily wonderful or important that the integrated PV is ‘hidden’ and not shown.
PV when integrated in a building, become part of the general building design and also often become general building elements. From economical point of view, it is necessary that the systems are integrated into the building envelop so that no extra investments on the support structure is needed.
These systems must be taken very early in the design phase and should not be treated as separate elements that are added after the design or building is completed.
Building integration concerns the physical integration of a PV system into a building, with the emphasis of overall impression they give to the building. For the architect, the aesthetic aspect, rather than the physical integration, is the main reason for talking about building integration.
Criteria for good PV Architecture as defined by Task 7 of the IEA PVPS (International Energy Agency Photovoltaic Power System) program
Natural integration of the PV system, it is part of the logical structure
This is a fire station in Netherlands which uses solar energy. The whole roof is covered with solar panels. This is an example of natural integration of a PV system. This is pleasing to eyes as well, which makes it look aesthetically pleasing as well.
Architecturally pleasing, the main motive of this kind of designing is that the building should look attractive.
The dimensions of the PV system should match the dimensions of the building. When this happens, they do not have to add something for the rooftop solar to stand since the dimensions will be similar to the roof.
Discovery Cube Orange County in Santa Ana California, U.S. We can see here that the solar array is covering the whole cube. Covering the whole area, dimensionally.
When the solar panels are visible, we can make it similar to the texture or color of the building. Making it aesthetically beautiful.
Apartment block in Amersfoort, Nieuwland, The Netherlands. The color and texture of the PV system is consistent with the other construction materials.
The system is well engineered. The details shown in the project is an elegance of both engineering and architecture.
Solar Office in Doxford, UK.
The PV system matches the context of the building. The appearance of the building, as a whole, should be consistent with the PV system used. In a historic building, a tile-type system will look better than large modules, if the PV system cannot be placed out of sight.
Solar Powered Stadium, Taiwan.The stadium is a striking dragon shape and seats 50,000 people.
The applications of PV have led to innovative designs.
1 Bligh Street went down in history as Sydney’s first 6 Star Green Star high-rise office tower. They combined remarkable architectural skills with the idea of sustainability which led to this beautiful building.
Some beautiful examples of Indian Architecture
1. Cochin airport
Cochin International Airport is world’s first solar powered airport which was inaugurated on 18 August 2015 with a capacity of 40MW.
Carports have a solar roofing. 11,000 units of power generated daily and the capacity is 2.67 MW
2. Guwahati Railway station
The Guwahati railway station in the capital city of Assam is the first railway station in the country to be fully solar-powered
It has grid-connected rooftop solar panels totaling a capacity of 700 kilowatt
3. Indira Paryavaran Bhawan
It is India’s first net zero building constructed in New Delhi
Solar PV System of 930 kW capacity
The architectural aspects of solar techniques
Solar energy systems are elements that have to various demands of roofs and exterior wall systems and have to be integrated into the overall concept with the building design. They widen the spectrum of materials and components that may be used in the construction. Therefore, architects have to deal with an increasing number of technical possibilities.
The exterior of the building is the most important subsystem to the energy balance of houses. Practical experience shows that it is not enough if the integration of solar components only fulfills functional and constructive aspects – but also consider a multiplicity of design aspects. There is also an impact from the structure of the building, the floor plans, the number of floors, its exposition, the structure, the construction of the walls and the design of the facades. New solar components require new demands for the design of roofs and facades in a matter of proportion and structure and the arrangement of transparent, translucent and opaque surfaces, the material of the building and the design of the surfaces.
If a new building integrating PV is to be designed, the concept is usually driven by these systems and so, the final result may turn out high-tech design. However, in case of an old building, the design, layout and use of these active systems is actually driven by the architecture and color of the building.
Why is there a need of change towards solar energy?
The main reason is because we need to head towards a greener life. We all know that the non-renewable energies that we have been using are getting exhausted. Hence, the use of renewable energy, and most importantly the energy from the sun which is abundantly available, hence, the solar energy must be the main consideration for architects, engineers, regulatory authorities and clients/investors when creating the built environment.
PV can be incorporated into buildings by either superimposition – where the system is attached over the existing building envelope, or integration – where the system forms a part of the building envelope.
This is a simple method well suited in case of existing buildings. The solar modules are mounted on a structure; for eg: roof, on the building envelope and in parallel with them. There is no savings in substituting elements as the materials underneath the solar modules are not replaced. With superimposition, architectural integration can still be achieved as the buildings can be made elegant. It may also be called architectural integration but is not building integration.
The PV uses as an architectural element as well as a means of energy generation. This method is most likely to be suitable for new buildings. The traditional constructive elements is substituted for PV. Savings are possible where the cost of the substituted elements is below that of the traditional elements. It offers a pleasant and clean appearance.
The reasons why architects do not prefer it and why we don’t agree with them
- They have to find innovative ideas to integrate the solar system. Due to some orientation problem in the area of the building.
- Since the initial cost of installing it is high most of the clients do not go for it. Therefore, convincing the clients is one of the most important part in this time.
- When there is a possible expansion of the building in mind then installing solar panels become difficult since the panels will be mounted mostly on the terrace.
- People getting out of the comfort zone. The clients do not want to put in a lot of effort in an element they will be provided already with i.e. the electricity connection.
- Maintenance of the solar panels is one more thing that the clients would think as the problem.