Photovoltaic modules on a vertical building wall are one of the alternative and innovative methods used in the photovoltaic industry, which differs from the most popular solutions, such as mounting on the roof or on the ground. This solution is gaining more and more interest in the construction industry and can bring real savings to the investor. To maximize profits from a photovoltaic installation, it is necessary to use an effective system that fully uses the production capacity of the panels.
Where can photovoltaic panels be installed?
Undoubtedly, the largest amount of electricity is generated by photovoltaic panels placed on the south side of the roof, at an angle of about 30-40 degrees. Roof installation is most popular in Poland, where the roof slope is usually between 30 and 45%. The second most popular installation site is the ground, where the angle and azimuth of the panels can be adjusted as needed.
Installing photovoltaic modules on a vertical wall, facing perfectly south, gives the maximum power of the PV system only about 71%. However, panels installed on the western façade achieve a maximum of 56% of their production capacity. However, it is worth noting that changing the inclination angle by 10 degrees allows the system to achieve efficiency of 63-80% of the maximum power, depending on the orientation relative to the south. Does this mean that photovoltaics on the facade is unprofitable? Just the opposite! It is worth considering this option, because the amount of energy produced from photovoltaic panels on the building wall may be surprising.
PV modules on the facade have some specific features compared to other installation methods. In the summer months, energy generation may be lower, but it increases in winter. As a result, energy production can reach approximately 70% of its maximum value. Therefore, the performance of such an unusual installation is fully satisfactory, provided that installation errors that may affect the efficiency of energy production are avoided.
Installation of photovoltaic modules on the facade – the best solution used in the industry
One of the innovative solutions used in the photovoltaic industry is the installation of PV panels on the facades of ventilated buildings. This installation method offers a number of advantages. First of all, it makes it easier to install photovoltaics, while providing additional protection for the installation itself against subsidence of the building. In addition, installing photovoltaic modules on a ventilated facade can contribute to energy savings of up to 40% compared to traditional facades, and it also protects against the risk of cracking of facade materials.
A ventilated façade, specially designed for photovoltaic panels, also affects the efficiency of the entire installation. It consists of: a substructure called a grid, a ventilation gap ensuring proper air circulation, thermal insulation and a facade cladding. Photovoltaic modules mounted on the facade perform various functions, they can serve as glass covers, cladding or spatial shading elements.
Photovoltaic panels mounted on ventilated facades are usually installed on a durable substructure. The grid must be strong enough to ensure proper functioning of the entire PV installation. It is also important to maintain the appropriate distance between the grate and the structural wall in order to accommodate thermal insulation and a ventilation gap. This distance is adjusted to the architectural conditions of the building, the thickness of the insulating layer and the offsets of structural elements.
The main purpose of a ventilated façade is to provide adequate ventilation to the panels through the gap between the external cladding and the thermal insulation layer. Before installing the panels it is necessary to design a special substructure that will function properly with the installation. Then you must carefully select the insulating layer that will perfectly adhere to the wall surface and external cladding on which the photovoltaic panels will be mounted.
BIPV – a system for mounting photovoltaic panels on the facade from AGS
A good structure for photovoltaic panels on the wall ensures efficient and safe installation and trouble-free use of the entire installation. One of the best and most innovative ways of mounting photovoltaic panels on the facade are BIPV systems from AGS. Two types are available: glued and mechanically attached. Glued substructures are used to assemble frameless modules – glass-glass type, while mechanically attached substructures are used to assemble modules with frames. In both systems panels can be installed both vertically and horizontally.
BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaics) systems manufactured by AGS are made of materials that have proven non-flammable properties and do not spread fire. In the event of a possible fire, the fastenings should maintain their integrity, ensuring adequate conditions for the evacuation of people within no more than 120 minutes. Therefore, they meet the requirements of applicable legal regulations regarding the mounting of photovoltaic structures on tall and high-rise buildings, i.e. with a height of more than 25 meters above ground level. According to them, photovoltaic structures made using them are mechanically attached, and the substructures are made of non-flammable materials.
However, this is not the end of the advantages of these systems. AGS products have 20 mm gaps between the insulating material and the surface cladding. The entire structure was designed to ensure proper moisture removal and improve the building’s thermal insulation. The BIPV system is based on steel passive consoles, covered with an innovative Magnelis® metallic coating, ensuring long-lasting anti-corrosion protection.
In addition, the most important features of these BIPV systems include:
– meeting the new requirements of the Technical Conditions related to the heat coefficient (Ucmax= 0.20 W/m2⋅K),
– meeting the requirements of §225 of the Technical Conditions regarding facade cladding not falling off within 120 minutes,
– corrosion resistance up to environmental corrosion class C5.
All this means that AGS facade systems significantly exceed the properties of products from other companies and currently have the best quality parameters on the market.
It is worth adding that AGS also offers other fastening systems, including: mounting profiles used as grids for mounting external cladding, e.g. aluminum profiles or steel profiles.
Photovoltaic panels on the building wall – advantages
A photovoltaic facade has many advantages:
– greater energy production in winter – vertical arrangement of photovoltaic panels (at an angle of 90 degrees) increases efficiency in winter. The sun, being low in the sky, causes its rays to fall at a favorable angle on the modules, which translates into better energy production,
– PV panels mounted vertically are less susceptible to dirt, such as leaves or dust. They are also self-cleaning because dirt flows away with rain and does not accumulate on the lower part of the frame. There is also no need to clear snow from photovoltaic panels, which has a positive effect on their efficiency,
– wall mounting reduces the risk of damage to modules due to hail,
– provided that thermal bridges are avoided, the use of panels and ventilation gaps contributes to reducing the heating of the building in the summer, which improves the energy efficiency of the building,
– photovoltaic modules on the facade can improve the aesthetics of the building, especially colored or full black variants, they can replace traditional facade cladding and be an attractive visual element.
Installing photovoltaic modules on the building’s facade is a beneficial solution for companies, public institutions and owners of larger properties who want to use solar energy for their own needs. This type of investment is particularly attractive when there are structural limitations or when the roof area is not sufficient for efficient installation and energy generation. Photovoltaic panels on a vertical wall are perceived as an innovative solution that is gaining more and more recognition from companies and investors.