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Poland’s Solar Office Buildings

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Poland will be the home of the first office buildings covered with semi-transparent perovskite solar cells on a commercial scale. The project has been developed by Skanska’s commercial development business unit in Central Eastern Europe together with Saule Technologies as the technology provider.

Perovskites are crystalline materials that have great potential to replace silicon, currently the world’s most popular semiconductor in solar cell applications. Skanska will apply the test-cells onto its projects in 2018, creating a significant milestone towards zero-energy and carbon neutral office investments.

“Skanska is going to commercialise perovskites – one of the most significant advances in the field of energy-efficiency for the real estate sector. This marks a new chapter in our industry’s history,” Katarzyna Zawodna, president and CEO at Skanska’s commercial development unit in CEE tells Emerging Europe.

“It is not a science-fiction vision anymore. Working with talented scientists from Saule, we are now turning fiction into reality and creating buildings which are more energy efficient and carbon neutral. Up to now this has not been possible on a large scale,” said Olga Malinkiewicz, co-founder and CTO at Saule Technologies.

“We estimate that the first implementations in CEE will have a number of benefits: the buildings will be more environmentally friendly, with lower carbon footprints leading to tenants paying less for a building’s usage,” Mrs Zawodna explains.

Perovskite PVs can react to various different wavelengths of light, which allows them to convert more of the sunlight that reaches them into electricity.

“A notable advantage that perovskite solar cells has over common silicon solar cells is that they do not require direct exposure to the sun to efficiently produce electricity. This – along with being easily customisable to a particular shape, colour and size – makes them ideal for facades and other vertical surfaces,” she notes.

“Eco innovations is now ‘a must’ in the real estate world, and Skanska very much understands its responsibility to the next generation and society. We will continue to seek innovative solutions that can be implemented in our sector,” she continues.

Some experts have raised concerns related to the toxic aspect of perovskite, as a substance called PbI could be carcinogenic, but so far no concrete evidence has been presented.