From sun to fuel tank - colourful solar panels and electric vehicles


Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts is presenting printed solar panels that also supply an electric racing car with renewable electricity at ENERGY CHALLENGE 2016.

The School of Engineering and Architecture at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts is actively involved in energy research and is contributing to the achievement of the goals set out in the federal government’s Energy Strategy 2050. Its work in this area is exemplified by an exhibit that has been built for the ENERGY CHALLENGE 2016, which combines the printed colourful solar panels for facades with ETH Zurich’s electric "Formula Student” racing car.

Colourful solar panels

Achieving the energy turnaround is not just a technical challenge; it’s also a design challenge. At present, solar panels are not frequently used in Switzerland, primarily due to the aesthetic misgivings of architects. In a bid to encourage the spread of photovoltaics (PV), a team led by Prof Stephen Wittkopf at the Competence Center Envelopes and Solar Energy in the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts’ School of Engineering and Architecture has developed a way of introducing more colour and greater variety to panels. This involves printing the patterns on the top layer of glass in the solar panels, in such a way as to optimise electrical efficiency while allowing ample scope for creative, colourful designs. The exhibit bears the coats of arms of the Swiss cantons, showing that the sky’s the limit when it comes to creativity. Since the research forms part of the "Building-integrated photovoltaics" respectively “Active interfaces” research projects, technology transfer is being supported by National Research Programme NRP 70 “Energy Turnaround” of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and central Switzerland-based Üserhuus AG. Realisation is taking place in conjunction with industry partners.
The electricity produced by these solar panels is entirely renewable and is being used, for example, to power the screen, the light and the electric race car throughout ENERGY CHALLENGE 2016.


Electric racing car - Formula Student Car

The core of the Academic Motorsports Club Zurich (AMZ) consists of around 30 students who develop, design and build an electrically powered racing car for the Formula Student racing series every year from scratch. Although there is a completely new team every year, the club is consistently successful thanks to the expertise it has amassed over the years. For the last 3 years, it has been at the top of the Formula Student world ranking. The project offers students the unique opportunity to apply the knowledge they have acquired to a high-tech project, and so to combine theory with practice. The performance they achieve is stunning and sometimes even makes Formula 1 cars look second class.

Further information on this content


Prof. Dr Stephen Wittkopf Leiter Kompetenzzentrum Envelopes & Solar Energy
Hochschule Luzern - Technik & Architektur
Technikumstrasse 21 6048 Horw +41 41 349 36 25