German Cadmium-Telluride Solar Cells in Belfast Parliament Building

The Parliament building in Belfast recently tanks solar energy using the thinnest solar modules,  available on the market. It comes from the German manufacturer Calyxo, who has found an effective alternative to the classic Silicon. And: you can see the modules on the historic building only from the bird perspective.

German solar cells installed in Belfast Parliament building
Calyxo solar Valley (industrial area in the District of Thalheim) produces the solar modules in the industrial area. The manufacturer can contend in the crisis-hit industry, because he has found an alternative to Silicon.

The question is: in this case, it is really so special?

German Cadmium-Telluride Solar Cells in Belfast Parliament Building

Finally, modules on a flat roof must be fairly thick, so that you can see it from the ground. Trevor Reaney, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Parliament, in any case, seems satisfied: “we were very pleased to implement this important aspect of the renovation and restoration of the roof of the Parliament building. It was our job to do whatever it takes, to get around the grade II listed building now and for the future.”

Should reach about 15% efficiency with Calyxo solar modules

Calyxo produces the solar modules in the so-called “Solar Valley”. An industrial area in the District of Thalheim. There was also the production plant of HanWha Q-cells. The photovoltaic manufacturers had to give up the solar cell production in Germany recently, the price pressure from China was too strong.

That Calyxo can assert itself is still on the market, is located on the so-call”German Technologies” of Cadmium Tellurite. Cadmium is a waste product from the mining industry. Calyxo refined it with tellurium to a water-insoluble Semiconductor.

German Solar Cells Installed in Belfast Parliament Building
Parliament building in Belfast: the ground the solar modules are not visible. Blandness was one of the conditions of the project.

The Cadmium Telluride is bound between two pieces of glass to produce electricity reliably for decades. According to Calyxo, the cadmium-telluride modules are cheaper than solar panels, which are based on silicon crystals, but just as effective. In the future, efficiencies of more than 15% should be possible.

To highlight the sustainability, the company is still an interesting comparison: A cubic Cadmium Telluride is sufficient for 330,000 modules that can produce 520 GWh electricity during their lifetime. To get the same amount, for example, with natural gas-fired power generation, 80,000 m3 would require natural gas.