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Pilot with coloured solar panels on the Huygens building facade

Date of news: 4 november 2020

A pilot project using coloured solar panels on the front of the Huygens building will begin at the end of this year. The panels were developed by Soluxa, a spinoff of Radboud University. If the pilot is successful, the university may decide to apply this new technique to other university locations.

Architectural look

Black solar panels for facades are already on the market, but these are less suitable from an aesthetic point of view. Black panels are very prominent and often diminish the architectural appearance. This inspired Soluxa to develop coloured panels and the university is happy to serve as a test subject.

Radboud University wants to generate its own energy as much as possible, including through the use of solar panels, because we always strive to be sustainable and our goal is to become energy neutral in 2050. Unfortunately, not all rooftops are suitable for solar panels and the total roof area of the university buildings is insufficient to make them fully sustainable at the moment. However, solar panels on the facades of university buildings could be a valuable addition.

Test arrangement with coloured solar panels on the roof of the Huygens building (photo: Soluxa)

Efficient and attractive?

The upcoming pilot consists of installing solar panels on the south facade of the Huygens building — which has a total surface of approx. 33 m2 — in black, “Huygens green”, and various other test colours. Soluxa will monitor the yield per coloured panel and compare it with the yield of black panels. They will also use the prototypes to decide which colours look “attractive”. The test system is connected to the university network so that the university can use the generated power immediately.