Posted on February 12, 2016

QATAR Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) held a workshop recently that explored innovation in photovoltaic technologies. It was titled 'Building-Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) Technologies and their Application to Qatar and the MENA Region'.

The event was organised by QEERI in collaboration with Fraunhofer Center for Silicon Photovoltaics (Fraunhofer-CSP, Germany) and IRESEN (Research Institute for Solar Energy and New Energies). Qatar National Research Fund was the sponsor. The 90 participants included scientists from research organisations and experts in the field of real estate and construction, with local entities such as Kahramaa, Msheireb Properties, Qatar Electricity and Water Company, the Supreme Committee for Legacy and Delivery and Siemens. Delegates from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the USA and Australia also attended.

The event showed the advantages and resources available for Qatar to integrate photovoltaics (PV) technology in the urban environment, allowing buildings to be converted from energy users to energy producers. Architects and engineers learnt how PV systems can be installed in buildings with good design, structures and energy concepts. They also learnt how BIPV products can be multifunctional (electricity generation, weather protection, heat insulation, sun protection, noise protection, modulation of daylight and security).

BIPV are photovoltaic materials (converting solar energy into direct current electricity) used to replace conventional building materials in parts such as the roof, skylights or facades. They are increasingly being incorporated into the construction of new buildings as a principal or auxiliary source of electrical power. A discussion on BIPV opportunities and needs in Qatar highlighted the challenge of promoting the use of solar energy in the country. It was noted that there is a big need for sustainability awareness, a task where Kahramaa's Tarsheed programme is taking the lead.

Dr Ahmed Ennaoui, research director of the Solar Energy Group at QEERI, explained:"PV solar cells can be used in houses, buildings and stadiums at large scale. However, Qatar's desert environment poses unique challenges to PV; dust and high temperatures decrease their efficiency. QEERI's research addresses these issues. So, collaborating with both local stakeholders and international experts in this field is vital to our success."

The workshop concluded with a ceremony for the Young Contest Award, where five students from Hamad Bin Khalifa University and Qatar University received awards for their innovative projects in solar photovoltaics.

source: Qatar Tribune