Photovoltaic system in Wallisellen breaks European records

The highest-yielding photovoltaic facade system in Europe was put into operation in Wallisellen recently. This system belongs to the new commercial building “K3 Handwerkcity”. In addition to the solar record, the building also boasts an innovative energy concept. Basler & Hofmann helped develop this concept and planned both the power centre and the photovoltaic facade.

© Daniele Bernasconi, IngEne Sagl

The goal of project partners K3 Immobilien and Werke Versorgung Wallisellen was clear from the outset: to build an innovative and versatile industrial park with maximum focus on ecology and economy. The result is impressive. This pioneering energy concept for “K3 Handwerkcity” is a milestone in the transformation of Swiss energy policy.

Highest-yielding photovoltaic facade in Europe

The new four-storey commercial building is clad in solar panels from top to bottom. This solar facade, with its 2,100 panels, has a surface area of 3,900 square metres. This equates to roughly the size of a football pitch. With an installed capacity of 663 kilowatts peak, the solar system will generate around 400,000 kilowatt hours of renewable electricity per year. The energy produced is to be used primarily for its own needs and equates to the consumption of roughly 100 households or 200 electric cars. The solar facade is also impressive on account of its simple concept: low-cost standard modules were used. These were mounted on prefabricated, large-scale wooden wall elements.

Innovative power centre

For the power centre, which controls the heating and cooling as well as the electricity production and consumption of the building, the energy experts from Basler & Hofmann worked with the project partners to develop an innovative concept: the centre comprises a gas-fired combined heating and power (CHP) unit and a refrigerator that can be operated as a heat pump in winter. It also has a smart controller which incorporates the yield from the solar systems dynamically. Whenever possible, the electricity for heating and cooling spaces is drawn from the solar system. The heat pump and the CHP unit cover the additional demand in winter and in transitional periods. This means that the commercial building will achieve very high self-sufficiency. The concept is currently being scientifically validated by Empa.

Further information on the project: