SCHOTT solutions no. 1/2011 > Solar Architecture

Truly a top reference: Thin-film solar modules from SCHOTT were integrated into the main façade of the hotel using hidden mounting mechanisms. Photo: Acciona Instalaciones

Tradition with a Future


Its unique location inside the traditional Spanish city of Pamplona is not the only trademark of the 4-star hotel ”Tres Reyes”, but now also a façade that features 1,263 transparent solar modules.


Alberto Zuñiga

The wavy front side of the building located between the historic center and modern urban area in Pamplona’s Taconera Park rises up high and can be seen from afar as it shines in discreet royal blue. The three crowns on its roof that symbolize the name of the hotel and an era when Pamplona was still a kingdom fit in just perfectly. Nevertheless, the ”Tres Reyes” (Three Kings) has not relied only on tradition, but also on innovation, since it was first built in 1963. And it has done so with the help of modern architecture that gave it an environmentally friendly dimension when renovation work was completed at the beginning of 2010. Special photovoltaic modules were installed in much of the main façade, with its northeastern and southern crossing. With these semi-transparent modules manufactured using thin-film technology, the solar cells were integrated into a composite glass pane arrangement. The construction elements were applied in an overlapping manner in the same angle of inclination as the building façade using a hidden mounting mechanism. The entire solar system has thus been fully integrated into the architecture of the building – something very few hotels are able to claim today.

This example of futuristic solar design in the hotel industry allows for customized design to be combined with ecological benefits in a flexible manner. “We were able to design the building to look good in a modern urban environment, yet fit in well with the neighboring park and adjacent old town,” explains José Luis Arranz, production manager for the Spanish construction company Acciona Instalaciones. In addition, the 1,263 SCHOTT ASI® Thru modules in serial groups are connected to three inverters that each have 5 kilowatts (kW) of nominal capacity and generate thousands of kilowatt hours (kWh) of environmentally friendly solar electricity. Furthermore, the solar elements installed in the façade improve the insulation of the building, lower the warm and cold load conditions and thus make it easier to control the climate inside the building – and save money as a result.

Ecological aspects were given special attention during the installation work, which was completed without interfering with hotel operations or harming the environment. To ensure sustainable environmental compatibility and realize a reliable solution for the future, the building owner insisted on using the highest quality materials and techniques, in addition to maintaining the highest degree of cleanliness by employing the appropriate waste management measures during renovations.

Before the entire system is connected to the power grid, the rear side of the hotel will also be converted into a solar façade. The estimated annual electricity generation capacity of the 1,937 PV modules will then be around 21,430 kWh. This would allow for 13.91 tons of CO2 emissions to be avoided each year. This equates to the air cleaning effect of around 1,232 trees during a one year cycle. <|