29.11.2023  |  News

BIPV projects worldwide - SKALA goes toAustralien

Melbourne, September 2023: We met the architect of 550 Spencer Street, Pete Kennon, in September this year and let him tell us his story of this wonderful project.
architect interview

Interview with Pete Kennon
Architect Spencer Street 550

In 2019, Pete Kennon started this unique & ambitious project to design and build the first solar facade in Australia. His goal was to achieve the maximum possible electricity generation from the facade of the building. The original project, a low-rise building, was thus converted in the first step into a high-rise building, which was then available as a free-standing building all around for solar energy.

During further planning, care was taken to ensure that, as far as possible, no building elements could cause shadows to be cast. The orientation of the solar panels on the facades was always towards the north, while transparent window fronts were planned towards the south. Then it was COVID break. Pete used this time off to develop his project further, he had ideas and time to try them out.

The private family developer behind this innovative project, wanted to leave a legacy, a sustainable building for her descendants. They supported the vision and ambition of the project throughout and proved to be a valuable support for Pete in every situation.

At the time, there were no regulations codes in Australia that specified the installation of solar panels on facades. An application to the government's BAB Building Appeals Board was required to obtain approval for this project. The review of the application revealed the need for a fire test to determine the suitability of our SKALA thin-film modules.

During the entire consultation and planning process as well as the subsequent approval process, the experts from AVANCIS Germany and George Fethers supported the responsible fire engineers from REDFire, and testing team at WarringtonFire. The Large Scale Facade Fire Test with 32 modules was carried out in August 2021 and was an exciting experience for all project partners involved. As a result, the test showed that SKALA can be installed in facades as a safe building material. The glass-glass modules behave similarly to laminated glass and do not contribute to the spread of fire. The tenants of the building are not in any danger at any time.

The building be completed and handed over to the client at the end of November 2023

our conclusion

AVANCIS project manager raves

Evamaria Nickel, our Key Account Manager BIPV, has been in charge of this project for the last two years and was on site in Melbourne in September to meet all those involved in the project and to initiate further projects together with our partner company George Fethers.

She enthuses: "This special project is absolutely groundbreaking - not only because the first façade in Australia has been elegantly equipped as a real power plant, but also because this alternation between transparency and opaque surfaces within the building envelope, which have been optimally aligned with the solar radiation, will set a precedent in terms of building physics."

Details of the building

  • Building height 26 m
  • Commercial office building
  • All four elevations clad in SKALA facade PV panels
  • Clad 50 % panels, 50 % solar control glass
  • Five modules connected in one assembly element
  • Fully sprinklered
  • One inverter per floor 

Project partner

  • GU Crema (facade and interior construction)
  • UK Chinese supplier Prefabrication, development of UK construction
  • George Fethers & Co. (technical support, planning, consultation, supply chain co-ordination)
  • AVANCIS (planning, supply SKALA solar modules)