Dutch Solar Design: beautiful, functional and high-quality solar panels manufactured in the Netherlands

ECN and partners will be presenting the latest innovations at the EU PVSEC conference, from 25-29 September in Amsterdam. Make sure to visit our stand B8 at the exhibition.

Solar energy will play a major role in the transition to a sustainable energy system. The price of solar power systems has fallen drastically and this encourages innovation. However large-scale implementation of solar energy in the Netherlands – and hence the achievement of the country’s energy goals – will be very difficult as long as long as insufficient attention is paid to aesthetic and varied designs that fit in with the urban and rural environments. ECN has recently published a paper on this matter.

ECN has joined forces with the creative and manufacturing industries to establish ‘Dutch Solar Design’. Like ‘Dutch Design’, Dutch Solar Design is all about aesthetic, user-friendly designs, combined with high quality solar technology. Dutch Solar Design provides designers, technical specialists and the manufacturing industry the chance to accelerate the energy transition in the Netherlands and to create new economic opportunities for both Dutch and European industry.

The important questions are: how can we use and make beautiful solar energy products? How do we ensure they are widely applicable? How do we guarantee these sorts of new products are economically feasible and reliable. This all results in new research questions for ECN and its partners throughout the solar energy chain. We address these questions in our Solar Elements Living Laboratory (SELL).

 New attractive and varied applications suited to public spaces will ensure that, together with roofs, other parts of homes, buildings and other structures will soon be generating solar energy. These could include not only facades and annexes etc., but also noise barriers along motorways, canopies etc.

The Netherlands leads the market in innovative and aesthetic solar energy products. Our solar energy research is highly regarded around the world, as is our design and architecture. By working together on the production of aesthetic solar energy products, in all colours, sizes and types of application, we can ensure that our manufacturing industry plays a key role in the global market for innovative solar energy solutions. 

We will present our latest Dutch Solar Design innovations during the EU PVSEC conference, together with our partners UNStudio, TS Visuals, Design Innovation Group, Aldowa and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. Sounds interesting? Be sure to visit our stand B8 at the expo.

Above: examples of Dutch Solar Design: beautiful solar elements to integrate in the built envoronment.

Above: example of how the brick module would be used.

Orals on the topic of Dutch Solar Design at EUPVSEC 2017

At the EUPVSEC conference the following orals will be given on the topic of Dutch Solar Design:

  • An architectural approach for improving aesthetics of PV
    By Lenneke Slooff (ECN)

    ECN is developing design solar panels that aesthetically fit in the surroundings. As a start, small modules were made that really look like a piece of brick wall. Although the color does affect the power output of the panel, the overall loss is much less than what is expected based on the coverage of the print. Meanwhile, also artistic designs and large-size building elements have been made. The options are endless and will offer a playing field for architects. The presentation will address appearance, performance and realibility of multicoloured PV.

    This research is conducted with the partners UNStudio, TS Visuals, DIG, Aldowa and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and is supported by a research grant from the Dutch government.

  • Aesthetics and Performance of PV
    By Tom Minderhoud (UNStudio)

    UNStudio designs with the future in mind. It is an Amsterdam-based architecture firm with a large research practice. Over the past five years, UNStudio has investigated and completed a number of built projects with building-integrated PV, providing new design solutions in this area. They strive to use new and exciting architectural strategies to harness the possibilities of renewable energy within the unique design requirements for each of their buildings. The current focus is on the use of color and geometrical applications through the printing and (re-)layering of facade modules.

    For this purpose UNStudio have developed a rasterisation algorithm in their design software that allows the application of a range of designs, negotiating a balance between module efficiency and aesthetics. Tom Minderhoud will give a general overview of UNStudio’s PV projects and an in depth view into the ongoing research for Dutch Solar Design (DSD-PV).

    This research is conducted with the partners UNStudio, TS Visuals, DIG, Aldowa and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and is supported by a research grant from the Dutch government.

  • Photovoltaics, buildings and design opportunities
    By Ger Gijzen (UNStudio)

    Ger Gijzen will give a general overview of UNStudio’s PV projects and the latest insights opportunities and developments from the architectural world. He will show a range of visual examples to clearly show the potential in our built and envisioned projects.

    This research is conducted with the partners UNStudio, TS Visuals, DIG, Aldowa and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and is supported by a research grant from the Dutch government.

What more has ECN to offer you?

ECN offers more possibilities for working together on solar innovations and projects. Read more about it: