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Customised solutions for photovoltaic roofs

Standardised solar systems often do not meet the architectural requirements. TEXEP provides custom solar solutions to individualise existing systems or develop new solutions that meet the desired design of the building.

Our team of experts works closely with architects, clients and project stakeholders to achieve this goal and optimise the aesthetics, energy efficiency and sustainability of the entire building through the solar system.
Custom solar solutions: Saint Charles Solaire in Perpignan

Saint Charles Solaire, Perpignan; Photo: Solaire France Sàrl

Example for an individual solar project: Google Charleston East and Bay View in California

The two GOOGLE flagship solar projects CHARLESTON EAST and BAY VIEW in Mountain View (Silicon Valley, California) are proof of the innovations and efforts required to adapt and improve a conventional solar installation so that it ultimately meets the highest technical and aesthetic requirements of an absolutely top-class project.

2015

2015

In his role as CEO and owner of SUNSTYLE AG at the time, André Posnansky was contacted by the architecture firms Heatherwick Studio and Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG) in October 2015 to present the SUNSTYLE solar roof. The vision of the new Google Campus projects was explained to André Posnansky. In this early planning phase, the roofs were covered with light-coloured metal sheets that overlap like scales, as is the case with the SUNSTYLE solar roof.
The question therefore arose as to whether the SUNSTYLE solar roof could be brought into line with the architects’ ideas. The architects had a requirement from Google that the new buildings had to be equipped with solar modules. In order for the LEED Platinum certification to be granted, the corresponding solar systems even had to have a minimum output of around 7 megawatts, so that they would cover around 40% of the electricity requirements of the four buildings.

For the aesthetically demanding architects, this requirement and the use of conventional solar modules on these buildings with curved roof surfaces was previously unthinkable and a great challenge.
Early concept of Charleston East with a white roof

Google Charleston East with white canopy

2015

In order to position the black solar modules as invisibly as possible from the ground, they were only to be used on the top four roof segments of the buildings. Such a solar concept not only represented a major aesthetic disadvantage, but also did not allow for sufficient electricity production.

 

Black solar panels on the top four Bay’s of the Charleston East Campus

 

It was immediately clear to André Posnansky that only the SUNSTYLE roof was a possible approach to achieve the necessary performance while respecting the aesthetics of the building. From the very first moment it was clear that the entire roof surfaces of the Google Campus must be covered with active solar elements.

The “Google project” was to be the second big challenge for André Posnansky after the SAINT CHARLES SOLAIRE project in France (Saint Charles), because he was determined to find a technical solution for the electrification of Google’s roofs. At the time, it was not clear that this was a project that would take half a decade to realize.
The requirements for the roof skin were that it could follow a pronounced double curvature (curvature in two dimensions), produce electricity and be bright, ideally white. Since the Bay View Campus is located on the grounds of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), in the immediate vicinity of the Moffett Federal Airfield runway, the surface of the roof cladding also had to be reflection-free.

A solar system that met all these requirements did not exist anywhere in the world. Although the SUNSTYLE standard system was similar in structure to the pattern desired by the architects, it was developed for use on flat roof surfaces and equipped with black monocrystalline solar cells for reasons of efficiency. The solar glass was by no means glare-free.

André Posnansky and his company SUNSTYLE AG were thus faced with an almost impossible task: to develop a bright, yet efficient solar system for Google and its headquarters building with curved roofs and an area of over 100’000 m², to certify it for quality and safety and to have it installed on the other side of the world.
A marathon of development steps begins with the production of small design samples through to larger prototypes.

In the months that followed, the SUNSTYLE team, led by André Posnansky, worked intensively on finding a solution, starting from the assumption that if no solution could be found, the originally envisaged roof of aluminum panels would be installed and, for aesthetic reasons, a solar system would be dispensed with altogether.
Early concept of the Google HQ building in California

Initial vision of the architects

2016

2016

Based on numerous tests, the construction of various functional samples and prototypes, André Posnansky presented the SUNSTYLE roof system at GOOGLE in three colours: black, grey and white. It quickly became clear to everyone that the white solution was not promising. Moreover, a black roof was not an option for Google: “We don’t want a corporate base that looks like a Darth Vader space station”. Consequently, the design team chose the grey solution.
Mockups of solar modules built at Google R&D in Mountain View (CA)

Design sample at Google R&D in Mountain View (CA)

2017

2017

As there were no solutions on the market, a new colour technology had to be developed to produce the solar tiles in the colour desired by Google Thanks to this development, it is now possible to produce solar modules in numerous colours.

 

The complex problem of providing coloured solar modules for the Google project could be solved with this new technology.

 

The design team determined the ideal hue

Solar modules must fulfill strict quality and safety standards. The solar tiles developed for Google have therefore been tested by a qualified testing centre and certified to the following standards: IEC61215, IEC61730, UL1703, IEC62716 and IEC 61701.


The module and product certification took place at the TÜF Rheinland in Cologne (Germany). With the successful completion of the certification, the quality and safety of the modules was proven.
Mockups of solar modules in gold and silver

Mockups produced with the new colour technology

2018

2018

Both the sealing system and the substructure, i.e. the fastening of the solar modules, were newly developed so that the solar modules to be installed on the Google buildings could absorb the bending caused by the double curvature with radii of partly less than 20m.

The system also had to withstand the strong dilatation phenomena, as well as flexion caused by strong winds and earthquakes.
To prevent reflections that are dangerous for aircraft, a deeply structured glass was used. Saint Gobain was commissioned to manufacture the glass.

 

 

 

Surface texture of the metal elements with and without textured anti-reflective glass (left)

Surface texture of a solar glass with and without textured anti-reflective glass (right)

In order to be able to manufacture a complex product with high quality requirements in a large quantity in such a way that a manufacturer’s guarantee with a duration of over 20 years can be given, highly reliable and trustworthy suppliers are needed.

 

 

SOLVIS production facilities in Croatia

2019

2020

2021

2019

2020

2021

The production and delivery of solar modules and matching edge elements took place in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

The installation of the solar modules went smoothly and was carried out by local companies, whereby SUNSTYLE or André Posnansky instructed the teams accordingly, was always available in case of questions and difficulties and accompanied the installation from the beginning to its completion in a consultative manner and partly on site.

 

André Posnansky on the construction site to consult and support the local installation teams

Google Bay View during the construction phase

Construction site of the Google Bay View Campus in 2020

2022

2022

The two Google flagship campuses Charleston East and Bay View were completed in 2021 and have since been honoured with numerous awards (“Structures Awards 2023” and others).

 

Google BayView in the evening with lights on in the building, roof with solar modules

Google Bay View in its finished state

Further examples of customized solar solutions

Custom solar solutions: Saint Charles Solaire in Perpignan during the late afternoon

Roof landscape Saint Charles Solaire in Perpignan, France

Residential X-Curve project in Bern, Switzerland

Saint Charles Solaire remains one of the most significant PV installations worldwide realised with building-integrated PV elements. Under the leadership of André Posnansky, the owner and CEO of TEXEXP Ltd, the nine buildings of the logistics centre with an area of over 68,000 m² were renovated using building-integrated photovoltaic shingles, creating a solar power plant with an output of 9 megawatts.

The solar roof developed as part of this project was later named Sunstyle® and is now marketed by Sunstyle LTD.
Residential house in Bern: The client’s high requirements could only be met with the X-Curve design, as a curved structure had to be created that could be integrated into the architecture of the building. The X-Curve modules can be installed flexibly, even on curved or radial structures.

The exceptionally high efficiency of the solar modules supply the entire property with electricity and this with the highest level of self-consumption thanks to the X-Charge storage solution.

Learn more about the TEXEP X-Charge storage solution.

Custom solar solutions: Saint Charles Solaire in Perpignan during the late afternoon

Roof landscape Saint Charles Solaire in Perpignan, France

Residential X-Curve project in Bern, Switzerland

Saint Charles Solaire remains one of the most significant PV installations worldwide realised with building-integrated PV elements. Under the leadership of André Posnansky, the owner and CEO of TEXEXP Ltd, the nine buildings of the logistics centre with an area of over 68,000 m² were renovated using building-integrated photovoltaic shingles, creating a solar power plant with an output of 9 megawatts.

The solar roof developed as part of this project was later named Sunstyle® and is now marketed by Sunstyle LTD.
Residential house in Bern: The client’s high requirements could only be met with the X-Curve design, as a curved structure had to be created that could be integrated into the architecture of the building. The X-Curve modules can be installed flexibly, even on curved or radial structures.

The exceptionally high efficiency of the solar modules supply the entire property with electricity and this with the highest level of self-consumption thanks to the X-Charge storage solution.

Learn more about the TEXEP X-Charge storage solution.

TEXEP stands for quality and sustainability

We know the technical capabilities of our manufacturing partners and ensure feasibility and quality during production. Our expertise in the area of product certification allows us to ensure that the solar products used meet the highest quality standards and are certified.

Our products comply with the latest international and European standards: IEC 61215-2:2021, IEC 61730-2:2023, UL 61730-2. Certification is carried out by the internationally renowned testing institute TÜV Rheinland.
Your contact for custom solar solutions:

 

André Posnansky

CEO and Owner

 

andre.posnansky@texep.ch