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UK can design integrated PV systems for China, say event speakers

UK industry can provide design skills and know-how to build integrated PV systems for China’s future sustainable cities, say directors at London event Ecobuild

PV system construction on building
Ecobuild speakers said the UK has design and energy management skills to build integrated PV systems for buildings in China

The UK can play a key role in designing integrated PV systems to build sustainable cities in China, industry speakers said at a London conference this week. UK industries can provide design skills, knowledge of system integration and energy management to develop advanced PV systems for energy efficient buildings across China's cities, company directors said, speaking at London event Ecobuild.

During a conference at the three-day sustainable design and construction event, Ecobuild, about what the UK has to offer China, director of Wilkinson Eyre Architects, Chris Wilkinson, said integrated PV systems are a key way to develop energy efficient buildings. This is an area the UK can help in China to build the sustainable cities of the future, he said.  

“China needs help with integrated system planning and design”, said Wilkinson. “To make most buildings sustainable you have to use a whole variety of different systems, not just one. You can’t do it all with photovoltaics. You need to have a combination of systems and a management regime that makes it work. I think this is where skills are needed and I think we have something to offer.”

The executive chairman of the Ecological Sequestration Trust, Peter Head, said: “You can’t just do it with PV. You need to have an integrated system. China doesn’t know how to do this, but we do.”

“It is about managing energy and managing the use of a building and controlling it,” added Wilkinson. “I think we have done enough of that to understand when it works and when it doesn’t and I think that’s where we can help.”

Wilkinson and Head made the comments about integrated PV during the Ecobuild 2014 conference: The Swot Test – What has Britain got to offer China. The conference, which took place on Wednesday this week, looked at the challenges of breaking into the Chinese market and what the UK can offer the BRIC country.

Head said the UK can also help develop building-integrated PV (BIPV) in China, by creating energy efficient buildings to act as power stations, rather than just places to harness energy.

“We need to create new products [for BIPV] around creating buildings as power stations,” Head said. “I think creating buildings as power stations is a great plan to take into China, with integrated technologies including thin film. I think this is an area we could really move forward on. Branding ourselves as a country that can create buildings as power stations, rather than just uses of energy, could be a good way to go.”   

Ecobuild is an annual world-leading event for sustainable design, construction and energy efficiency to build greener environments. Chinese PV developers attended, including JA Solar, which introduced its latest high-efficiency PV modules.