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25th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition /

5th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion, 6-10 September 2010, Valencia, Spain


Dirk Herfurth, zkan Yildiz

Mounting Systems GmbH
Mittenwalder Strae 9a
D 15834 Rangsdorf
Tel. 0049 33708 529 0, Fax. 0049 33708 529 199

ABSTRACT: In the course of the ongoing globalisation of the market for renewable energy, ever-newer fields of
application for photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal plants are being developed. Architects and planners are thus making
increasingly frequent use of modules and collectors in visually attractive variants, such as for building integration and
faade systems. With these systems, the focus is put on aesthetics and the often somewhat greater yield as compared to
standard systems. However, the effort required in order to ensure these systems are designed in a secure manner that
complies with applicable standards is much greater than for regular roof top and outdoor systems. For example, specific
standards must be observed, and corrosion protection and seal tightness become fundamentally important. This lecture
provides an overview of the possibilities for integrating PV and thermal systems into buildings (roof and faade). It is
intended to illustrate the challenges faced during the planning and installation of such systems. This includes observing
and applying the corresponding standards, regulations and codes. The goal is to clarify what must be taken into account
by the planner of the structure from a structural stability standpoint and where the challenges in a design lie.

building in percent. The degree of shadow has a very

much greater influence on the efficiency of a system. In
the case of roof integration, this influence is naturally not
as relevant as in the case of mounting on the faade


In Germany, a good basis for the development of all

kinds of solar plants has existed since the entry into force
of the EEG (Renewable Energies Act) in April 2000. The
most widespread and familiar are undoubtedly roof top
applications and ground-mounted systems for open
spaces. But to secure the greatest possible interaction of
the functional aspect of the photovoltaic (PV) module or
thermal collector and the aesthetic aspect as building
element, building-integrated PV (BIPV) makes the most
Three basic types can be distinguished. In the case of
integration in the roof area, the existing roof cladding is
replaced by solar modules or collectors and the wind and
weather repellent layer formed by the system itself. In
the case of faade systems, the integration occurs
vertically. It serves as a protective sheath against the
elements or assumes the function of a partition between
the external and internal climate. Shading elements form
the third largest type of use of building integrated solar
Due to the technical
properties of modules and
collectors, the angle of
arrival of the sunlight and
associated intensity of the
insolation play a major role
in the attainable efficiency
of the system. In German
inclination to the south.
Figure 1: Yield on various
Figure 1 shows the yield
building surfaces in percent
on various surfaces of a

Figure 2: Shadow forms on buildings

surfaces of a building. Figure 2 shows various shadow
forms (trees, other buildings, own shadow) which can
scarcely be avoided, especially in urban areas.
As a result of these, the system is subject to
performance losses, since less energy is converted into
electricity. It has been shown that 70% of the optimum
can still be achieved on a vertical faade with southward
orientation. In addition, building integration is
remunerated with the highest ct / kWh by the EEG. The
goal is to ensure that new buildings are already
constructed with solar-active surfaces and in the case of
restoration that existing buildings are retrofitted. Roof
top applications hold first place in Germany, with about
two-thirds of total output installed, followed by outdoor
systems. Consequently, the marginal share of BIPV can
still be greatly increased.


25th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition /

5th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion, 6-10 September 2010, Valencia, Spain

Systems integrated in the faade can be distinguished

according to their additional functions. Suspended
ventilated facades are solely intended for the weather
protection of the actual external envelope. Thanks to
integrated PV modules or thermal collectors, CO2-neutral
energy can in this way be generated. A thermal insulating
faade can likewise contain PV and thermal elements.
However, it is assigned even further functions, such as
weather and noise protection and the thermal insulation
of the building.
Another application option is using PV modules as
partly-transparent surfaces. For example, the admission
of light into the building can be individually influenced
by designing the modules to be transparent. As a side
effect, an interesting interplay between light and shadow
in the room interiors is obtained.
Hence, direct insolation behind glazed facades can
lead to heat accumulation behind glazed surfaces and the
heating up of rooms. This is a problem for modern
skyscrapers in particular, which are usually extensively
glazed. Another version of the integration of solar
systems can be used here. Integration of sun protection
installations makes sense especially in office buildings
with high thermal loading from computer workplaces,
where room cooling enjoys priority.


Diverse aesthetic design options can be obtained by

building integration while simultaneously generating
emission-free energy and cooling and overshadowing
rooms. Various examples are explained below.
In the case of roof-integrated mounting, the PV
modules or solar collectors replace the actual roof
cladding. If early planning occurs, the integration can be
a design tool for new buildings. But retrospective
installation in existing roofs using systems available on
the market is relatively unproblematic (cp. illustrations
below). Problems can arise here as a result of inadequate
sealing and structural stresses. Damage may arise
because of changes in external influences. It is thus
advisable to use the same standards and recognised
technological rules as when erecting a glass roof. The
different materials employed (glass, metal) have different
thermal expansion coefficients. To avoid the damage this
causes, back ventilation of the system is suggested. The
waste heat produced can be utilised to support the

Figure 3: Examples for sun protection integrations

For installation on the outside of buildings, rigid and
moveable systems can be distinguished. In the case of
both options, PV modules or solar thermal components,
such as vacuum tube collectors, can be fitted. In this way
either electricity for a conventional cooling system or
energy for a solar thermal version can be obtained. The
simplest type of rigid mounting is as awning, projecting
roof or parapet element.
However, given weak daylight, these installations
can have a negative effect, since the then in any case low
light intensity in the room is further reduced. Rotating
systems provide a remedy. These can be guided by the
horizontal and/or vertical axis. A computer-controlled
motor makes the solar system track the sun, which can
enhance the efficiency of the yield by up to 30%. To
keep the additional stress on the faade as low as
possible, the structures for attaching the solar systems
usually consist of light metals such as aluminium. At the
same time, the system should be designed such that
moving parts do not lead to it casting shadows on itself
as far as possible. When the sky is overcast, such systems
can be set at a neutral position, increasing the admission
of light into a building's rooms compared to rigid

Figure 1: Examples for roof integrations

Faade integrations catch the viewers eye more
than roof top versions. It is thus essential to attach
particular importance to the aesthetics and attractiveness
of integrated solar systems. Mounting of modules and
collectors in the faade is unproblematic. Examples for
this are suspended facades, glazed stairwells and
parapets. The following illustrations present the options.


It is the case that solar systems of all kinds are building
structures in the meaning of building law. This means
they must comply with all building law regulations.

Figure 2: Examples for facade integrations


25th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition /

5th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion, 6-10 September 2010, Valencia, Spain

Before building begins a check must be made on each

occasion whether the building project complies with the
regulations of the Building Code (BauGB). In order to be
able to exercise foresight in controlling urban
development, the cities and municipalities are in control
of planning. A decision is made as to whether the
structural installation forms a connection with the
surrounding development, i.e. fits into the immediate
Solar systems, whether subject to approval or not,
have to comply with public law regulations. In the case
of faade and roof top integrations in which load-bearing
glass structures are used, either a general building
standards permit, approval in the individual case or a
building standards test certificate is required. The glass
building types which have to meet the above-mentioned
requirements can be subdivided as follows: Overhead
glazing, vertical glazing, fall protection glazing,
structural glazing facades and walk able glazing. It
makes no difference in this regard whether these contain
solar cells or solar thermal components. The modules or
collectors can be subjected to a test regarding the already
mentioned approval in individual cases on a project
basis. For this purpose several test specimens undergo
controlled destruction. It must be guaranteed over a
certain period that no fragments separate from them and
as a result lead to damage to persons and material.
In the area of German standards and rules, building
standard implementation regulations have been
introduced for various kinds of glazing, namely the
Technical regulations for measuring and implementing
punctual supported glazing (TPRV) in its final version
of August 2006, the Technical regulations for the use of
linear supported glazing (TRLV) of September 2005
and the Technical regulations for the use of fall
protection glazing (TRAV) of March 2001. It is the case
under all of these regulations that if the planner has
adhered to them, no approval is required for the structure
in individual cases. The basic tenor of the technical
regulations is that systems with overhead and vertical
glazing are only permissible if, after failure of the
structure, no glass fragments fall down for a certain
period and no harm to people can occur. The glass used
in such structures must correspond to a laminated safety
glass (LSG) product. Thanks to a film included in the
laminate which binds fragments, this glass guarantees
safety in the event of glass breakage.
In general, most photovoltaic modules and solar
collectors do not have any overhead permit. However,
the module structure, consisting of a glass-film laminate,
permits use in the overhead and faade area. The
respective manufacturers can provide information in this
All static analysis and flexing proofs required must
be provided by the planner of a solar faade or roof
application. The list in DIN 1055 Influences on loadbearing structures must be taken into consideration as
influences on the load-bearing structure and solar-active
elements. It is above all the snow and wind loads that
occur which play a major role. The technical codes in
turn assist the planner for the proof. They contain the
tensions and flexing permissible for various types of
glass. Structural implementation details provide the
planner with additional instruction during the design
phase with regard to seal tightness and corrosion
protection of the fastenings used.


There is still a large market for BIPV in Germany

and Europe. The share in the installed overall output in
Germany and Europe is marginal and still susceptible to
very great expansion. Attractive and aesthetic solutions
can be found for all types of facades and roof areas with
photovoltaic modules and solar collectors. When it
comes to new buildings, integration can be an interesting
planning aspect, for which the system operator is
remunerated with the highest EEG rate by legislation.
However, planning and execution involves more
effort than in the case of the other installation types, such
as roof top applications or ground mounted systems on
open spaces. The planner bears a higher responsibility for
life and limb, as damaged parts of a faade or overhead
installation can injure people far more easily.
Consequently, a high degree of care is required
during planning and construction. The planning engineer
is provided with regulations to gauge building integration
safely in the form of the technical regulations for glazing
and on glass. Structural details provide tips for a windand weather-tight and corrosion-free design. For the
customer, a complete and statically correct calculation of
his system is important in order to have it insured.


[1] Technical regulations for the use of linear supported

glazing (TRLV), August 2000
[2] Technical regulations for the use of fall protection
glazing (TRAV), March 2001
[3] Technical
implementing punctual supported glazing (TPRV),
September 2005
[4] DIN EN 14449, Glas im Bauwesen, Verbundglas und
[5] G. Sedlacek, K. Blank, W. Laufs, J. Gsgen, Glas im
Konstruktiven Ingenieurbau, Bauingenieurpraxis, Ernst
& Sohn, 1. Auflage, Berlin 1999
[6] E.-J.
Gebuden in Sdkorea, Promotionsarbeit, Universitt
Dortmund, 1999
[7] S. Rexroth, Gestaltungspotential von Solarpaneelen
als neue Bauelemente Sonderaufgabe Denkmal,
Promotionsarbeit, Universitt der Knste, Berlin, 2005