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Shining a light on Polysolar

last modified Aug 15, 2017 09:55 AM
Generating power through sustainable energy sourcing
Shining a light on Polysolar

Polysolar bike shelters at the recently opened Cambridge North Station

Polysolar’s building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology has recently been integrated into a cycle parking shelter at Cambridge North Station.

Polysolar, based at ideaSpace West, recently supplied and commissioned an integrated solar photovoltaic glazed roofing system for a bicycle shelter at the new Cambridge North railway station interchange.

 The substantial covered cycle shelter uses 196 high performing, 250 Watt solar PV glazing panels in the roof of the shelter, which is estimated to generate some 10% of the station’s power requirements or 50 MWh of electricity per year.

“The incorporation of Polysolar’s BIPV glazing in the new station shows how the county council and network rail are proactively adopting new innovative environmental technologies. It’s a shame that the railway station connects with an old dirty technology bus route rather than the east west railway line, that would have much more effectively linked the region and reduced our carbon use.”  Hamish Watson, CEO Polysolar.

The new rail station is just another of the growing number of innovative structures using Polysolar BIPV glass. At Canary Wharf, a new bus shelter incorporates the company’s unique transparent PV panels. This bus stop uses the power for lighting, advertising and signage in the shelter and feeds into the rest of the estate. It is expected to generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of the average London apartment. As the first-of-its-kind system it has earned Polysolar a finalist place for Technological Innovation of this Year’s London Construction Awards.


Current projects

Polysolar is currently working alongside major construction companies at the Shire Hall redevelopment in Gloucester, to incorporate its BIPV glazing into the façade of the building. The initial phase of the project is scheduled for completion in late 2017, will generate up to 13,000 kWh of clean electricity per year, saving up to 6 tonnes CO2 per year. Polysolar are also in the final planning stages of installing a power generating transport entrance hub at Bournemouth University. This installation is expected to generate up to 18,000 kWh of electricity per year, and incorporates 256 transparent PV glass panels in the shelter roof.

The company aims to become the world’s leading supplier of PV glass in the rapidly growing building integrated photovoltaics construction sector. The company already operates in locations ranging from South America to the Middle East and on to Australia. 

Currently conventional solar panels are often added to buildings as an afterthought, Polysolar has designed its photovoltaic modules to be aesthetically pleasing so they can be integrated into the building envelope without being detrimental to the look. Modern high-rise buildings also have a much larger area on the windows, facades and balconies, than they do on roofs (which often house structures for air conditioning, electricals etc.), and so installing into the fabric of the building is highly advantageous.

BIPV is also a relatively simple way to improve a building’s energy efficiency – the tint to the panels reduces the heat gain and with it the need for air conditioning, whilst the power generation reduces the direct CO2 emissions – on average, Polysolar panels save 30 kg CO2 per year. All of these factors help reduce the need for fossil fuels for lighting, heating, and cooling, thereby creating sustainable and low-carbon built environments.


A brief history of Polysolar

Polysolar is an award-winning company established in 2007 by CEO Hamish Watson developing next generation Photovoltaics based on direct printing of organic polymer based photovoltaics on glass. The company has been awarded a series of Innovate UK grants in collaboration with partners Pilkington, Solvay and Merck as well as working closely with many universities and CPI to develop its next generation ‘Power Windows’ – the world’s largest transparent OPV cell.

 In parallel Polysolar developed, launched and certified a range of thin-film amorphous silicon transparent solar glazing panels and more recently a range of colourless high performance transparent glazing panels based on micromorph and cadmium telluride PV technologies. Technical details on the product and technologies can be found here. The company also designs and supplies a range of bespoke structures, mounting systems and electrical components.

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