• Lechwerke & Heliatek have installed flexible solar films on the concrete façade of a grain silo of Schneller Mühle in Donauwörth
  • 120 HeliaSol solar foils have been pasted with a special primer on 230-meter square area of the silo without the need for drilling
  • The films represent total capacity of 10 kW capable of generating close to 6,700 kWh of solar power
  • Heliatek will assess the results of the pilot project over a long period to determine its plans to start series production in 2020
  • It has also completed the installation of HeliaSol films in South Korea for Samsung Electronics innovation campus in Suwon City near Seoul

It is exciting to see what PV technology is capable of doing. In the latest related development, thin solar foils from Germany based manufacturer Heliatek have been pasted on some 230 m2 area of a grain silo in Donauwörth, Germany. The 120 HeliaSol foils represent around 10 kW capacity to produce close to 6,700 kWh of clean energy annually. Heliatek launched the project along with local utility Lechwerke (LEW) as a pilot test on a grain silo.

LEW said this is the first time the technology is being investigated on rough concrete at a height of around 20 m for a long-term test. The solar power generated will be used by the Schneller Mühle mill for its own operations. Simple pasting of the solar films helped avoid the need for drilling work which would have damaged the building sustainably.

The foils are made of ultra-thin layers of organic, carbon-based molecules, applied to a flexible PET film at very low temperatures without any use of toxic components. The silo façade was first cleaned and with the help of a special primer that acted as an adhesive, the 6 m long, 32 cm wide solar films were rolled from top to bottom.

Large building façades as those of factories or warehouses offer good enough space where solar’s potential can be exploited, said LEW Project Manager Martin Krammer. Both the companies claim the solar film is light and flexible and does not lose power at high temperatures hence it can be directly applied onto the façade surface.

“Due to the height of the silo, there is no shadow cast by surrounding buildings. At the same time, the southern orientation of the façade promises many hours of sunshine that can be used for power generation,” said Krammer.

Learnings from this project will be used by Heliatek to be able to start series production in 2020. The pilot will also help gain insights into further possible applications of the technology while power generation from the plant will also be recorded and evaluated over the next few years.

Not the first time

Previously, Heliatek applied the film on 185 m2 metal façade of a warehouse at the Port of Duisburg along with Innogy. LEW itself had adhesive films put up on a small façade surface at its plant in Augsburg-Oberhausen.

Heliatek separately announced completing its first installation project in Korea with its strategic partner Samsung Engineering. IT applied the thin films on the roof of a gangway between 2 large office buildings of Samsung Electronics innovation campus in Suwon City near Seoul. The company calls it the first large scale organic PV project in South Korea. Such solutions work for the country as the need for decentralized green energy is realized.

PETA Engineering provided design and installation services for the Samsung project. Heliatek plans to monitor the site extensively in terms of electricity yields and degradation.

Spanish renewable energy firm Acciona installed Heliatek’s carbon solar panels on a wind tower to generate electricity for turbine’s auxiliary systems in Spain this month (see Acciona Gets Solar For Wind Turbine Tower).