Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Develop Lamination/Thin Film Building-Integrated Photovoltaic Panels(ST4537)

Kiss & Cathcart Architects


Following the realization that potentially vast markets exist for multifunctional building materials, there has been an explosion of interest in building-related applications of photovoltaics (PV). These applications can enormously reduce the economic barrier to grid-connected PV use. The availability of PV modules large enough to simplify installation and present an attractive appearance would help accelerate the introduction of building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). Kiss + Cathcart is an international architectural firm that has a special interest and experience in developing BIPV. Energy Photovoltaics (EPV) is a PV cell manufacturer in Princeton, NJ. EPV's basic 2'x4' PV module is too small for effective building integration. All phases were aimed at developing an encapsulation process that could laminate several EPV modules to a larger glass substrate of up to 4'x8'.

Map Error

Project Description

In Phase 1, manufacturing equipment and techniques were developed to make large-area thin-film-based PV modules for the BIPV market. In Phase 2, equipment and processes were designed and constructed to custom-pattern BIPV modules. Patterning capabilities were be developed that scribe the panels parallel to the cells, perpendicular to the cells, or in a dot pattern, depending on the customer's wishes. In Phase 3, the feasibility of integrating PV into a Bronx courthouse will be evaluated. In Phase 4, equipment and processes were designed that were capable of making colored BIPV modules. These modules were rigidly tested for power production and aesthetic characteristics.


Developing BIPV panels with transparency, custom-patterning, and coloration are making the PV modules appealing to architects. This project has helped establish a research and PV-laminating plant in Brooklyn under the corporate name of TerraSolar. The plant recently manufactured nearly 200 BIPV panels for the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas.

Project Results

The project helps develop methods and equipment to manufacture opaque, colored, and semi-transparent BIPV panels. The opaque and semitransparent modules are being commercialized. A number of different colored modules were developed and these are being considered for commercialization. Kiss + Cathcart and Terrasolar continue to market BIPV's to architects worldwide.


Kiss & Cathcart Architects
44 Court Street, 12th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Principle Investigator

Gregory Kiss

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Development

Technologies Types:

Energy Power Supply

NYSERDA Contact Information

John Martin


R&D - Innovation & Biz Dev

Contract Details

Start Date: 3/19/1997
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST4537

Last Updated: 12/19/2013