CSEM: The beauty of invisible solar


Right in the heart of Zurich, the head office of the city’s emergency services (Schutz & Rettung Zürich) has been fitted with an innovative solar roof. Newly developed colour technology opens up a much broader scope for design geared to the energy transition. MegaSlate Flair is a potential solution for protected historic buildings.

The roof of the building on Weststrasse that houses the head office of Schutz & Rettung Zürich, which operates the city’s emergency services, was renovated last winter. Working with the specialists from SunTechnics Fabrisolar in Küsnacht, the client sought a suitable solar power solution. The original plan was to install solar panels on top of the roof, but the client eventually opted for a pilot project using a coloured solar solution integrated into the roof structure. As a result, one of the largest coloured solar roofs in Europe was constructed in central Zurich.

The project was the first ever to combine the tried-and-tested solar roof system made by 3S Solar Plus in Thun, which has been on the market for 20 years, with the colour technology offered by Solaxess, a CSEM technology start-up. The solar roof thus replaces tiles in terms of colour as well as function. “The tile colour ‘Terracotta Rust’ is just one of many available with MegaSlate Flair. Even complex roof shapes are not a problem. We take measurements on site, and then the roof is totally covered in no time at all,” says Dr Patrick Hofer-Noser, owner and CEO of 3S Solar Plus. This roof unites the robust MegaSlate system with a colour innovation from CSEM’s research and development centre.

“We have been working with Solaxess for many years to achieve unique levels of viability and reliability for colour film technology. 3S Solar Plus, with its experience and unrivalled high-level manufacturing operation in Thun, was an ideal partner to manufacture the solar building components for this truly remarkable solar architecture project,” explains Christophe Ballif, director of CSEM’s PV Center.

The two south-facing roof surfaces have been completely covered with both active and passive solar modules for a total output of 76 kWp. The use of colour gives architects unprecedented scope to reconcile solar energy with good aesthetics and thus drive the energy transition forward. The MegaSlate solar roof system is made in Thun and has been installed on more than 14 000 buildings since 2001.

The development of the technologies by Solaxess, CSEM and 3S Solar Plus is supported by Innosuisse and the EU Be-smart project.

Caption: The head office of Zurich emergency services (photo: 3S Solar Plus)

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