The building skin is often called the third skin of a human being after the body skin and clothes since it provides protection from the elements, creates privacy and provides contact between the indoor and outdoor space. Moreover, it is the most important element regarding the total energy balance of buildings. Solar energy systems, and in particular solar cells, have an important role to play in reducing energy needs of buildings. Several building surfaces are ideally suited for the use of solar panels, but high costs as well as technical and aesthetical considerations have long kept building owners and architects from using even a small part of this potential. The paper is the result of a study that investigates the architectural potential of existing photovoltaic materials and product development trends. The main goal is to give an overview of current possibilities and discuss their relevance for future development regarding architectural integration.

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