Indian building keeps humming, even during power outages

Building-integrated solar cells help the employees at Hydro Building Systems’ new energy-efficient headquarters in Bangalore, India, work uninterrupted – even during power outages.

June 21, 2011

The solar cell system and aluminium façade feed electricity directly to the building, covering about 30 percent of the electricity needed for lighting and operating the computer system.

That way, the users of the building can work uninterrupted, even during power outages in the public grid, without resorting to diesel generators, which is the common solution in India.

Grid unreliable

“The public grid in India is very unreliable,” says Subhendu Ganguly, Building Systems’ country head in India. Outages lasting from five to 30 minutes occur several times a day due to weaknesses in the grid.

“Solar cell systems where building-integrated photovoltaics supply electricity directly to the building would probably also be a relevant solution for energy-efficient buildings and zero-energy buildings in Europe in the future,” says Max Radt, head of the Solar Competence Center in Hydro Building Systems.

Europe next?

Today, solar cells in European buildings deliver electricity to the grid, so the electricity is not used directly in the buildings. Radt says this will probably change when public financial support programs for solar power are phased out.

Then solar systems feeding the building with electricity in combination with the grid and battery banks will probably become the common solution.

Building Systems new headquarters in Bangalore has installed sun-shading systems with integrated solar cells in the façade, a glass pergola on the roof and skylight with integrated solar cells in the central entrance hall of the building.

LEED certification

The integrated solar cell systems are an important reason why the new building is on its way to qualifying for a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) platinum rating.

LEED is a certification system for energy-efficient buildings, and platinum is the highest rating awarded to buildings. The building is expected to use as little as 60 kWh per square meter annually.

Updated: October 11, 2016