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Dragon scale solar tiles installed on Google buildings in Silicon Valley

Some 90,000 individual solar panels will generate enough electricity to cover around 40% of the electricity used in two buildings for Google.

From pv magazine USA

One of Google’s newest buildings is using a building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) product called Dragonscale, which is manufactured by European solar panel company SunStyle.

And it is gorgeous.

The internet giant, which also is a world-leading clean energy procurement company, has installed around 7 MW of the product on two buildings at its Silicon Valley campus. The 90,000 individual solar panels will generate enough electricity to cover around 40% of the electricity used in the buildings, known as Bay View and Charleston East.

Note the metal substructure to which the solar tiles are attached.Image: Chris McAnneny Heatherwick/ Studio.max

The solar cells are embedded into a sturdy, but flexible, polyvinyl acetate (PVAc) layer. Six millimeters of hardened solar glass protects the face of the panels; the back is protected by a layer of fire-resistant Tedlar (polyvinyl fluoride). Because the edges of the tiles are sealed to keep out moisture — much like a glass-glass solar panel — aluminum framing on the panel is not necessary.

The polyvinyl layer is a highly textured “prismatic” surface, which traps photons within the solar panel that would normally escape from traditional flat solar panels. The result is an increase in solar panel generation.

Australian manufacturer Redflow’s Z Cell is a zinc bromine flow battery, and the first flow battery to be launched for residential purposes.

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Sunstyle shared a .gif on its website to show how the product is installed. The solar tiles are screwed directly into the sun-roof structure. The substructure can be made of wood or stainless steel.

A wood lattice substructure is the common roofing technique used in Europe. This allows for solar panels to be better used as building material. In the United States, this lattice substructure would be the rafters located under a plywood base.

The warranty covers the product’s ability to generate electricity as well as its integrity as a building material. The shingles are guaranteed to last 30 years. Energy output is guaranteed to remain above 90% of its rated efficiency after 10 years, and above 80% after 25 years.

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Source: pv magazine