In order to contribute to the energy transition, further popularization of solar panels is crucial. At the same time, you must also acknowledge that they tend to be less attractive objects that detract from the aesthetic qualities of a building. Dutch manufacturer Kameleon Solar has radically changed that image by specializing in colored and customized options.
The popularity of solar panels has long since gone beyond the first sustainability pioneers. Yet a clear bump still exists for further rollout. And that, on the existing built environment side, has mainly to do with the lack of visual appeal. Kevin Verpaalen, CEO of Kameleon Solar: “Our mission is to design solar panels in such a way that they can be fully integrated with the visual power of a building. What we find is that many buildings where aesthetics play an important role are reluctant to apply this sustainability solution. Our panels, on the other hand, are fully customizable in color and size.”
While the efficiency of these panels is lower compared to traditional models, Verpaalen further explains, their visual appeal means these variants have more applications. “Our mission is more about increasing the applied volume than increasing yield per individual panel,” he said.
Many traditional solar panels find their way onto the pitched or flat roof. Kameleon Solar, on the other hand, focuses primarily on building facades. An important quality of this solution is that the panels themselves also serve as facade cladding. “Actually, it is curious that in traditional applications, you apply the solar panel on top of the existing building covering. Our alternative, on the other hand, is itself part of the existing shell.”
A great example of this is in Drammen, Norway, where the facade of the monumental Ticon building is now made almost entirely of solar panels. The high energy consumption of this 1960s building has now been turned into a positive energy yield.
Verpaalen concludes, “Solar panels on roofs are mainly aimed at maximum yield when the sun is high in the sky. Our panels on facades do not have so much of a peak load, but benefit from solar output throughout the day. In fact, it is especially at the edges of the day, in the morning and evening, that you can take full advantage of this without putting further pressure on grid congestion in the Netherlands.”
Kameleon Solar was founded in 2015 with the goal of producing custom solar panels so that these products would become more accessible to a broad market. However, the manufacturer soon had to discover that customization alone was not enough to meet the market’s needs. The new impetus that the market needed was the introduction of beautiful, colored, and customized solar panels for projects where aesthetics play a crucial role.
Author: Hugo Schrameyer
Here is the link to the E-paper: https://issuu.com/contentway/docs/toekomstvandestad.