PHOTOVOLTAICS | FORMS | LANDSCAPES - 4. Beauty and Power of Designed Photovoltaics - book

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FOREWORD 3 Heinz Ossenbrink


Alessandra Scognamiglio



Alessandra Scognamiglio



Walter Hood



Robert Ferry & Elizabeth Monoian



Simone Giostra





Rolf Hagen





Philippe Malbranche with Ya Brigitte Assoa, Eric Gerritsen



Patrick Heinstein with Christophe Ballif, Laure-Emmanuelle Perret-Aebi



Andreas Semmel



Eric Scotto with Anne Monnier



Pierluigi Bonomo



Laurent Quittre



Astrid Schneider



Astrid Schneider



FOREWORD HEINZ OSSENBRINK This volume is brought to the attention of the pv community by engaged architects and designers, which bring forward their creative ideas and innovative concepts for a society which shall deal with a new gift: an infinite, natural energy resource given to mankind as one of the solutions to the pressing problems of this planet. The volume is also meant as an acknowledgement to the tireless and continuous effort of researchers, engineers, policymakers and many charismatic men and women, young and old on the long road to making pv commercially available for designers. But it is also an offer to learn more from architects and designers who give a visible form to pv today, an ever more present appearance in the world which surrounds us, lasting many decades. In the daily and rapid quest to improve solar cell efficiency, to lower costs, to connect to the grid, to clear the way through legal issues, it is tempting to forget that the pv community creates objects which last longer than the next generation. Therefore this volume is an appreciation of architects and designers who with dedication and enthusiasm commit to a sophisticated technology which is deeply rooted in quantum physics and photonics, and who carry it closer to the citizen than any previous energy technology: everyone can see it, everyone can touch it, everyone can use it. The pages of this volume give a snapshot of the third edition of Photovoltaics | Forms | Landscapes during the 28th European Photovoltaic Conference and Exhibition in Paris, and a bit of the first and second editions (Hamburg 2011 and Frankfurt 2012), where scientists and engineers met designers and architects. Or, in other words, where a community concerned with cost effectiveness and pv performance met a community which is driven by beauty and forms and design.

PREFACE ALESSANDRA SCOGNAMIGLIO Discipline is a way to organise the scientific knowledge that naturally tends to a proper autonomy (a closed domain), described by a disciplinary boundary, a certain technical vocabulary, certain tools, and certain theories. The risk of a disciplinary approach is a kind of hyper-specialisation which might imply that the investigation objects can become like “things�, and loose their connections with the context they belong to. Moreover, a disciplinary boundary tends to isolate a certain knowledge, not taking into account issues that digress from the specific disciplinary domain. Edgar Morin

Today our energy needs, and the way we feed them, have a visible (and sometimes huge) influence on our landscapes. Intensive monoculture agricultural fields, clusters of agricultural greenhouses, as well as large solar (pv) fields are the expression of an increasing energy need that cannot but generate highly recognisable patterns (studied so to maximise the solar energy collection and the energy generation, while minimising the land use) that modify the original landscape patterns. In the past, the food (still energy) requirements of a community were probably the starting point for creating very valuable cultural landscapes: vineyards and olive groves have made many regions famous all around the world. Is it imaginable that a similar cultural process might happen also to the way we generate energy through renewables? Experience tells that the number of pv installations that are giving our landscapes new forms has been ever increasing in the recent years. The



consequence of such a rapid diffusion of large pv fields in the landscape is often an opposing attitude of the public, which perceives the presence of these technological elements as intrusive to general aesthetics of the landscape. However, tens of thousands of blue modules spread out in the landscape also tell us of the endeavour and the need we have today to generate the energy we require for our daily activities, by using renewable energy generation systems to preserve the planet and our future life. Therefore, it is a matter of culture. What is missing? While an agricultural field is perceived via a certain aesthetical code as a matter of culture (often adding value to the landscape) and its effectiveness relies on a balanced (“good”) relationship with the environment, this does not necessarily happen in the case of solar fields. These are still conceived as technical elements, just put on the ground, which “abuse” the land without contributing to an equilibrium. The form is based on a simplified list of rules (orientation, slope, dimension, etc.), mainly based on energy and economic factors, and generally without any other landscape design consideration (a part from reducing the associated environmental impacts, to succeed in the necessary environmental assessment procedure). To change this it is necessary that the topic of new energy is discussed as a cultural issue, and not only as a technical one. One of the most investigated topics for pv in the past 20-25 years is the so called “BIPV”, acronym that stands for “Building Integrated Photovoltaics”. BIPV is a kind of “must-know” concept for individuals wanting to do research on pv and design. Anybody taking part in a technical conference on pv would be seen with a lot of suspicion by researchers if not aware of what BIPV means. Nevertheless, the experience demonstrates that architects and designers, even when they have used pv in a very remarkable way, never thought of “BIPV”, never thought of “integrating” pv (and they never thought of integrating bricks in buildings). They were just “using” pv, approaching its design as they always do with other materials and technologies they use. They can even ignore the existence of the acronym BIPV, despite

the fact that their works might then be mentioned as good examples of BIPV... On the other hand, for people who do research on pv and who are used to envision pv modules as electrical devices, it is obvious that a pv module is not (or not yet) comparable to a brick, it does not belong to the standard building materials’ range. A module used for BIPV has to fulfil many more requirements than a conventional pv module, therefore it requires building and technological research. This condition is emphasised by saying that it is BIPV, and not just pv. Moreover, it is possible to think (and envision) pv at different scales: from the one of the material that reacts to the Sun generating electricity (visible only through kind of magnifying, glasses) to one that is so big that we can just grasp it with the sight if we walk, or that we can recognise as a pattern from an airplane. Thinking of forms, and landscapes, backgrounds and visions from different disciplines emerge for pv (Physics, Engineering, Architecture, Chemistry, etc.) and each of them speaks a proper language. This kind of complex condition, is a starting point for challenging the disciplinary borders, and looking for a interdisciplinary domain, where it is possible to discuss pv as a design, and technological research topic, and where it is possible to learn from each other’s visions. Paraphrasing Edgar Morin, a domain where it is possible that someone who doesn’t come from the discipline, who doesn’t know about disciplinary issues, can solve problems. Simply thanks to an extra-disciplinary eye that can see something invisible for the disciplinary eye. Photovoltaics | Forms | Landscapes is a series of annual events serving as a discussion framework to investigate the new phenomena associated with the rapid spread of large pv systems, or with the use of renewable energy technologies in general. It promotes reflection on the implications for our way of living and on what new issues of design could arise. This is done on all scales: from modules, to buildings, to cities, to landscapes. The vision proposed by Photovoltaics | Forms | Landscapes connects the regional scale with a “planetary” scale: the growing and “sudden” expansion of pv into the (even farming) landscape needs to be per-



ceived as an answer to the growing need for energy for increasingly populated human settlements, that cannot contain contain their energy footprint. If we are committed to sustaining human life on Earth, and to guaranteeing a positive outcome of future population expansion, we require a new approach to an integrated design which acknowledges not only our living footprint (the “physical” footprint), but also takes into account our ecological footprint, created also by our energy and nutrition needs. Before actually advancing to such a new design, reconsideration is needed to see the landscape and its constituting elements not only by traditional (such as natural / anthropogenic) categories, but also considering new dimensions stemming from energy use and energy generation. The design process which assumes a production / consumption role for the landscape needs to orient itself towards energy self-sufficiency of the communities living within the landscape by integrating the energy and nutrition footprint into the project domain. The proposition is in fact the requirement towards the vision of a designed, performative landscape, where pv systems appear as productive elements, capable of reconciling today’s and the future’s human needs and of achieving a balance between production and consumption. This approach requires a paradigm-shift even before the design phase: it is about knowing how to perceive our energy needs as a project variable which directly influences the forms of settlements. To answer these research questions, a trans-disciplinary approach is needed. The evident binding that keeps together the pages of this volume is an image for the approach that Photovoltaics | Forms | Landscapes proposes: listening to other languages, and reconnecting (like with the binding) different knowledge and approaches for letting slowly emerge a new cultural vision for shaping our future landscapes. Photovoltaics | Forms | Landscapes is hosted by the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference (EUPVSEC), and internationally-renowned researchers, producers, architects and landscape designers present their concepts for making pv systems a new cultural experience which enhances the relationship between the citizens and the energy environment; dis-

cussion is proposed at the different scales through which pv, if conceived as an element of design, interacts with the citizen: modules; buildings; urban spaces; landscapes. The event (concept A. Scognamiglio, H. Ossenbrink, 2010), is co-organised under a memorandum of understanding by the European Commission, Joint Research Centre, JRC (photovoltaic technology and policies) and ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (conception and programme), together WIP Renewable Energies and ETA-Florence Renewable Energies (organisation and promotion). This volume collects selected contributions from the past three editions of the event (Hamburg 2011, Frankfurt 2012, Paris 2013). Contributions are grouped according to the categories: transdisciplinary visions (Scognamiglio, Hood, LAGI Ferry-Monoian, Giostra); extradisciplinary visions (Hagen, Liotta); disciplinary (research and market) visions (Malbranche-Assoa-Gerritsen, Heinstein-Ballif-Perret Aebi, Semmel, Scotto), and projects that have been collected and selected through a call for proposals (Bonomo, Quittre, Schneider).

Note of the editor: A discussion has been made among the authors of this volume (especially with the English mother tongue ones) on the use of the word “photovoltaics” as a noun, on whether photovoltaics is a singular or plural noun, and on whether it was preferable to use photovoltaics or photovoltaic. The discussion did not have a final result, but it demonstrated that pv is a very lively topic even in the grammar field… Despite photovoltaic is an adjective, in the scientific field generally the word photovoltaics is used as a noun, to refer to the pv technology, as well as to the “pv discipline”; and the verb that follows the noun refers to the word photovoltaics in the singular form (photovoltaics is.)… For some other authors photovoltaic is an adjective, and when using photovoltaics reference is made to the pv modules in general, to the physical objects connected together. It should be plural, but without the final “s” sounds better… In the end, the editorial choice was to leave any use of photovoltaics, photovoltaic, in the singular or plural form, in the way the authors used it. In the text “pv” stands for both photovoltaics and photovoltaic.



Heinz Ossenbrink Master’s degree and a PhD in nuclear physics from Hahn Meitner Institute in Berlin (DE). Since 1995 Head of the Renewable Energy Unit at the Institute for Energy and Transport, European Commission, JRC, Ispra (IT). Since 1982 he is contributing to the standards work of the IEC TC82, Solar Photovoltaic Systems, which he chairs since 10 years. He is responsible for a large pv test laboratory and for the scientific support to EU legislation on Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency. He has been for many years the Technical Programme Chair of the European Photovoltaic Conference and Exhibition, and is co-chairperson for Photovoltaics | Forms | Landscapes. Alessandra Scognamiglio Master’s degree in architecture, University Federico II Naples (IT), PhD in technologies for architecture and environment. Since 2000 she works as a researcher at ENEA, Portici Research Center (IT). Her main research fields are are: Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV), Landscape Integrated Photovoltaics (LIPV), net zero energy buildings and smart cities. Her main interest is working on the hybrid border between scientific research and design. Photovoltaics | Forms | Landscapes idea person and chairperson.

Walter Hood Master of fine arts, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, 2010, M.L.A and M.Arch, University of California, Berkeley, B.L.A., University of California, is an artist, designer and educator. He is professor of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning and Urban Design at UC Berkeley. In his teaching and practice he is committed to the development of environments which reflect their place and time specifically through how people inhabit various geographies. Founder and director Hood Design, Oakland, California (USA). Robert Ferry Master’s degree in architecture, from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture. AIA, LEED AP BD+C, co-founder of the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) and Studied Impact Design. His practice is focused on net-positive environments that achieve complete harmony with their local and global environments and with the people who use them. Elizabeth Monoian Master’s degree in fine arts from Carnegie Mellon University. Founding director LAGI (Land Art Generator Initiative) founder and director of Society for Cultural Exchange (SCE). As the director of SCE and through large-scale international public art projects such as the LAGI, she is committed to nurturing global intellectual and creative dialogue on issues surrounding environmental sustainability.

Simone Giostra Master’s degree in architecture, Polytechnic School of Architecture in Milan (IT). Since 1998 he has held faculty positions at Cooper Union, New Jersey Institute of Technology and City College in New York. Currently, he is associate professor at the Pratt Institute in New York and a visiting professor at the Polytechnic School of Architecture in Milan. Founding partner of Simone Giostra & Partners, a full service firm based in New York and Berlin.

Philippe Malbranche Master’s degree in engineering, École Centrale de Paris (FR). He started working in 1980 in the South Pacific on rural electrification projects with renewable energies. Research programme manager at CEA-INES, Le Bourget du Lac (FR). His main fields of expertise are: pv materials, pv cells and modules, pv systems, storage technologies and systems, solar thermal systems, zero-energy buildings, and smart grids.

Rolf Hagen BArch hons, DipArch, Edinburgh College of Art, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland (GB). Co-founding partner of Context AS, an environmental and architectural consultancy based in Oslo (NO). A specialist in sustainable design and masterplanning, a key focus for his work is identifying ways in which natural processes and environmental technologies interface with a design proposal, and how these interactions can be reflected in the architectural language of the project.

Ya Brigitte Assoa Master’s degree in Civil engineering and PhD from the INSA of Lyon (FR), working on the experimental and numerical performance analysis of PV/T hybrid bifluid solar collectors integrated into building envelope. Researcher at the Building Energy Laboratory of CEA INES since 2009; she developed steady state and dynamic thermal and electrical models of BIPV and BIPV/T systems under transient simulation software.

Salvator-John A. Liotta Master’s degree in architecture, University of Palermo (IT), PhD from the University of Tokyo (JP). Researcher at CNRS-LAVUE, in Paris (FR), researcher at Kengo Kuma Laboratory at the University of Tokyo, lecturer at InArch in Rome (IT), and a correspondent of Domus, Compasses and pressT/Letter in Japan. In 2012 he published “Patterns and Layering: Japanese Spatial Culture, Nature, and Architecture” a book about the convergence between parametricism, digital fabrication, and Japanese traditional patterns.

Eric Gerritsen Master’s degree in applyed physics from the University of Twente (NL), PhD in material science from the University of Groningen (NL). Project leader pv-modules at INES, since 2008. Before that, he has been working at Philips Research Laboratories in the Netherlands and Germany (19851993), Philips Lighting (1993-1995) in the Netherlands and Philips Semiconductors in France (1995-2007).

Patrick Heinstein Master’s degree in industrial design, University of Applied Sciences, Darmstadt (DE). He studied history of arts, philosophy and archaeology at Heidelberg and Bochum Universities. Activity manager of BIPV-Design at the IMT, PV-Lab in Neuchâtel (CH), which belongs to EPFL, Lausanne (CH). A special focus of his work is laid on pv and urban heritage conservation. Christophe Ballif Master’s degree in physics, EPFL, Lausanne (CH), PhD on novel materials, EPFL. Professor, director of both the PV-Lab at IMT (EPFL) and the PV-Center at CSEM, both Neuchâtel (CH). After his Phd he also worked at NREL, Golden, Colorado (USA) and Fraunhofer ISE (DE). The focus of his research as a physicist is on high efficiency silicon crystalline cells, thin-film and module technology. Laure Emmanuelle Perret Aebi Master’s degree in chemistry, University of Neuchatel (CH), Ph ddegree in chemistry, University of Fribourg (CH), postdoc at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland (GB). She heads the “Module Design and System Integration” sector at CSEM pv-Center, Neuchâtel (CH). Her main research activities are focused on the development of innovative and highly reliable pv modules and systems for various pv applications.

Eric Scotto Master’s degree Paris Sorbonne (FR). CEO and cofounder of Akuo Energy. He has nearly 20 years of product development, sales, and general management experience and a proven record of accomplishment of leading companies through rapid growth. Akuo Energy is a leading French independent renewable energy power producer that is present across the value chain, including project development, financing, construction, and operation. Anne Monnier Master’s degree engineering L’école des Mines d’Albi-Carmaux (FR), master’s degree Indian institute of Technology of Bombay (IND). Innovative project manager in Akuo Energy, bringing together solar energy, agriculture, storage, social aspects. She has progressively worked in continental France, Reunion Island and now masters islands challenges and works abroad in different island areas. She is currently in charge of coordinating within Akuo group the storage activity and smart grid developments. Andreas Semmel Diplom of engineer of industrial production cycles, University Louis Pasteur of Strasbourg (F), FH Offenburg (D); Master’s Degree in Business Administration, Institut d’Administration d’Entreprise, Aix en Provence (F). Co-founder of the company TerraSource. Since autumn 2012 he works as country sales manager for the Austrian special BIPV module manufacturer Ertex-Solar, member of Ertl-Glas-Group. This activity is focused on ambitious BIPV systems.

Pierluigi Bonomo Master’s degree in construction-engineering/ architecture, University of L’Aquila. PhD. in building-engineering/architecture, University of Pavia in 2012 with a thesis concerning BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaics). He has been a teaching assistant at University of L’Aquila since 2009 also working as a freelancer with a focus in the design and envelope engineering of nearly zero energy buildings. Now he is a research assistant at SUPSI in Switzerland. Laurent Quittre Master’s degree in economics from the Haute Etudes Commerciales (H.E.C.) of Liège - Belgium. In 1994, he starts to work for EDS - Electronic Data Systems - as a business analyst for the banking sector. He becomes expert in derivatives and risk management. In 2000, he discovers the pv industry from the financial perspective. He becomes passionate about the technology and starts deep investigations looking for market development opportunities. In 2005, he founds ISSOL with the intention to give an architectural relevance to the technology. He brings together architects and engineers to implement remarkable BIPV projects in Belgium and France.

Astrid Schneider Master’s degree as diploma engineer architecture, Berlin University of the Arts (D). Since 1993 until today she is self employed as author and architect, specialized in solar architecture and the realization of BIPVprojects, based in Berlin (D). In 1998-99 she worked on the EU project BIMODE at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, Köln (D), later on PVACCEPT, Berlin University of the Arts in Berlin (D). Working at BEAR-architects in Gouda (NL), she contributed to IEA-PVPS publications and a database about BIPV.


is co-organised as a part of the of the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference by European Commission, Joint Research Centre, JRC and ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development under a Memorandum of Understanding between JRC and ENEA contact: together with ETA Florence Renewable Energies and WIP Renewable Energies (organisation and promotion)

First published 2014 by ETA Florence Renewable Energies Via Giacomini 28, 50132, Florence, Italy Š2014 Selection and editorial material, Alessandra Scognamiglio Individual chapters, the authors All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any means, without permission in writing from the publisher. The authors do not guarantee the correctness and/or completeness of the information and the data included or described in this book. ISBN: 9788889407110

Graphic design: Giovanna Grauso Associazione Visionarte Printed in Italy, by Artigraf, Florence August 2014

There are a number of renewable energy options readily available to address today’s energy challenges such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, global access to energy services and secure, safe and affordable supply. Energy from wind, Sun and biomass are well known and already widely applied. However, photovoltaic solar energy has some special features that makes this technology unique. To find out, how this technology can shape our surrounding world, how it can lead into an entirely new world of architecture, and how it embeds in new, performing landscapes, you need to know about Photovoltaics | Forms | Landscapes. Open this book and read and see how designers, architects and visionary artists take advantage of the modularity of photovoltaics to create a new world of energy which soon will surround us all. Heinz Ossenbrink (European Commission, JRC)