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SCHOTT solutions no. 1/2010> Interview

Photo: ertex-solar

Upward Trend

Dieter Moor, Managing Director of Marketing and Sales for ertex solartechnik, on his company’s commitment to solar architecture and the future prospects for building-integrated photovoltaics.

Christine Fuhr

solutions: What convinced Ertl Glas AG, a company with a long tradition in the area of glass construction and processing, to also get into the field of photovoltaics?

Moor: Historically speaking, the glass industry has dominated the language of architects much more than companies that focus solely on photovoltaics. Therefore it makes sense for us to enter into this field because there are still so many glass surfaces that can be activated.

solutions: What is ertex solar’s main area of expertise?

Moor: Clearly in combining the advantages that the glass industry offers with those of the photovoltaics industry. We were the first ones to combine laminated safety glass technology (LSG) with photovoltaics. Manufacturing insulating glass is also an area of core competence, which means the customer has only one contact.

solutions: How do customers and architects, in particular, benefit?

Moor: On the one hand, we offer standardized, proven and cost-effective solutions. On the other, we also develop individual solutions for specific customers. Thanks to the combi­nation of laminated safety glass and photo­voltaics, architects are able to combine sophisticated aesthetics with solar power generation in a way that works out just perfectly.
ertex solar photovoltaic modules based on laminated safety glass technology are manufactured inside a special autoclave. Two panes of glass with plastic films and PV cells between them are bonded together to form a composite. Photo: ertex-solar

solutions: What are your most important reference projects?

Moor: The top highlight is certainly the NTC Tower in Khartoum, Sudan, which has a 2,000 square meter thin-film system, one half of which has been done with SCHOTT ASI® opak, the other half with SCHOTT ASI® Thru, the slightly transparent version. The Rewe supermarket in Berlin that was awarded gold by the German Sustainable Building Council was yet another important project. There have been quite a few thin-film projects, for instance the modules for the German Pavilion at the EXPO in Shanghai, a glass roof for a school in Vienna and the façade of the headquarters of SCHOTT AG.

solutions: How did you like working with SCHOTT?

Moor: It was excellent! It is important to discuss the details together with all of the members of the project team. As a customer, we are quite pleased with the quality of the solar cells and thin-film panels. We also liked the fast service and competent support.

solutions: Are there any other projects involving SCHOTT in your joint pipeline?

Moor: Yes, a whole range of development projects with long lead-times, like Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, a dormitory in Essen, an office tower for the University of Erfurt and the saltworks in Bad Dürkheim.

solutions: How do you feel about the future of building-integrated photovoltaics? Is it only a trend?

Moor: It is certainly also a trend, but one that is pointing straight upwards and isn’t flickering or showing signs that it will disappear again. Quite a few of the building standards indicate that there will be a lot more action in this area. With respect to building in a sustainable manner, photovoltaics should be viewed as an integral element of the entire system. The basic building concept has to be right to start with in order for it to be designed in an environmentally friendly way that saves energy. The rest can then be covered by photovoltaics.

The opportunities for architects, owners and society lie in the fact that the passive house technology that has been propagated in the past can be converted into active house technology. What other type of energy can make this type of claim?