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(Onyx Solar Group)

In May, Spanish Photovoltaic (PV) glass manufacturer Onyx Solar stamped its presence in the Miami Design District with its cladding of Balenciaga’s newest flagship store.

Each glass unit measures approximately 10 feet by 5 feet and is capable of providing up to 340 Watts per unit. The crystalline Silicon gels used to convert light into electricity are inserted between heat-treated and laminated safety glass.

Although the primary task of the checkered curtain wall is to harvest solar energy, the patches of crystalline Silicon gels also function as a brise-soleil, boosting the store’s thermal performance while protecting its interior from the aging effects of direct sunlight.

Located in the tropical cyclone basin of the Mid-Atlantic, structural performance was an essential component of the project. Cladding a Crawford-Tracey curtain wall structure, ONYX’s PV glass is capable of withstanding hurricane winds.

In a statement, ONYX’s Diego Cuevas describes PV glass as “one of the new age materials,” capable of competing with conventional building materials in terms of thermal performance, flexible design, and relatively free power for new developments.

The firm’s footprint is truly global, with projects ranging from the soaring Dubai Frame to London’s Brunel University.