Solar power drives energy-efficient air conditioning

Enough electricity to power the heating and cooling system of Gateshead Council’s new International Business Centre is provided by BP PowerGlaz panels. Incorporated into the front elevation and roof structure, the 36 modules can generate up to 34 kW of electricity. They power a system than transfers heat generated in offices on the sunny side of the building to heat cooler offices on the opposite side. Developed by BP Solar and laminated-glass specialist Romag, PowerGlaz consists of solar PV cells laminated between glass panels. It is said to represent a significant step forward in the evolution of solar technology by creating a building product that will be economic and widely available to the architectural and construction sectors. Dave Brown, architect for Design Services, part of Gateshead Council’s development and enterprise section, says, ‘BP Solar were involved in the design process from an early stage, which is a key factor in the overall success of the project. From an architectural point of view, the new product offers both striking design features and, by displacing the original building material, reduces the cost of introducing solar-electric technology.’
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