Renewable, affordable, efficient and carbon-free. In the midst of a global climate crisis, the benefits of solar energy are more evident and more urgently necessary than ever. Yet, solar power remains an eyesore on the margins of urban environments, with the cumbersome black panels typically hidden from view and strategically consigned to rooftops or remote solar farms. No longer. Thanks to Mitrex, invisible photovoltaic cells can be seamlessly — and elegantly — integrated into the exterior envelopes of new and retrofitted buildings.
A global pioneer in Building-Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) construction materials, Toronto-based Mitrex offers a streamlined collection of versatile and customizable solar cladding and balcony railing systems.
A unique cladding solution, Mitrex BIPV systems combines the lightweight efficiency of an aluminum composite with the strength and durability of concrete. A solar cell is installed atop a structurally rigid aluminum honeycomb base, with a top layer of tempered glass. The tempered glass finish is engineered to allow any tone, pattern or design to be introduced into the facade without compromising the efficiency of the embedded solar cells.
The technically sophisticated system means that a wide range of designs — ranging from elegant monochrome hues to porcelain and marble patterns — can be incorporated, combining solar power generation with a distinctive aesthetic. By the same token, the flexible finish can be seamlessly integrated into a more traditional building envelope, making for an imperceptible difference between BIPV cells and adjacent curtain-wall or window-wall cladding. Either way, it’s a far cry from black solar panels on the roof.
It doesn’t end with the building envelope: Mitrex SolaRail technology also brings solar energy generation to the balcony. Comprised of two layers of tempered glass on either side of a high-efficiency solar cell, the advanced BIPV system makes for invisible solar generation that can be incorporated into any design. From the level of transparency to the tint of the balcony glass, the customization extends to metal handrails and posts, with a wealth of options available to suit any design.
The integration of bespoke cladding design and solar energy generation sets Mitrex apart from the competition. While solar companies typically focus on technology at the expense of aesthetics, traditional cladding manufacturers lack the technical expertise to integrate solar technology into the building envelope. Mitrex BIPV brings the two worlds together with multi-purpose innovation, combining cutting-edge solar technology with versatile, high-performance cladding.
Unlike most BIPVs, Mitrex cladding and SolaRail finishes are also available in custom sizes, giving designers greater freedom to create a unique design. Capable of producing some 25,000 square feet of solar cladding per day, Mitrex’s advanced, fully automated production facility allows bespoke finishes to be created on a rapid timeline. The company also offers full turnkey services, from design, to installation, to maintenance, making for an even more streamlined process.
The customization and adaptability of Mitrex BIPV solutions also means that new cladding can easily be incorporated into deep retrofits as well as new construction. For older buildings in need of a more efficient, high-performance building envelope, the custom sizing and bespoke designs can be specified to fit the spatial constraints of an existing structure.
As cities around the world grapple with the high carbon footprint of the built environment – with buildings and new construction estimated to account for almost 40 per cent of global emissions — the seamless integration of carbon neutral power is a welcome innovation. It’s also surprisingly affordable.
While sustainable technologies often come with a high upfront cost, the integration of cladding and solar generation into a single facade product offers savings compared to the combined cost of cladding and solar panels. Moreover, Mitrex’s progressive revenue-sharing business model allows the company to price products below market value. In other words, there’s never been a better time to let the sunshine in.
This content was published by Azure on behalf of Mitrex.
Integrating solar energy into new and existing buildings is faster, simpler and more aesthetically pleasing than ever before.