PITTSFIELD, MASS. (June 20, 1:25 p.m. ET) — Sabic Innovative Plastics has introduced what it says is the first polycarbonate building-integrated photovoltaic panel for roofing, cladding and glazing applications.
The new BIPV panels, developed in collaboration with Italian flexible photovoltaic panel manufacturer Solbian Alternative Energy Ltd., will be commercially available in the second half of 2012. They have been installed and are now in use at a Sabic manufacturing facility in Italy.
“The new Lexan BIPV panels show Sabic's commitment ... to find better solutions and create practical innovations for customers in the building and construction industry,” said Jack Govers, general manager for specialty film and sheet at Sabic Innovative Plastics when the new panels were introduced June 13 in Munich, Germany. “Our collaboration with Solbian has created a technology that can transform conventional roofing and glazing systems and provide new choices for the integration of solar systems into building designs across the globe.”
The flexible photovoltaic panels are made from Lexan Thermoclear PC sheet from Sabic and flexible PV laminated monocrystalline cells from Solbian, which is headquartered in Avigliana, Italy.
Unlike traditional BIPV materials, the Sabic panels can be easily cold bended on site to form graceful, curved roofing systems that integrate daylighting and photovoltaics into facade, roofing or skylight systems.
The companies said that the new panels reduce energy consumption by up to 17 percent when compared to traditional high-return, double-pane glass glazing.
This is a “new, high-performance solution that will no doubt drive broader adoption of photovoltaics across many types of commercial and residential structures and geographies,” said Enrique Garcia, president, Solbian Alternate Energy.
The Lexan BIPV panels will be available in 10, 16, 20, 25 and 40 mm gauges, in rectangular and X-wall
Configurations, and include a color palette of clear, opal white, bronze, green, blue and gray.
Separately, Sabic said that it has entered into a collaboration with VU University Amsterdam to develop lightweight, more energy efficient and lower cost solar thermal panels.
VU University has developed and patented a technology that uses what the university calls an “optical switch” to create a prismatic structure of the thermoplastic panels made from Sabic's Lexan polycarbonate sheet so that the sunlight can be reflected before the panels get too hot.
Pittsfield-based Sabic Innovative Plastics is wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Basic Industries Corp.