Founded in 2022 as a spinoff from the ETH after years of research, Zurich Soft Robotics is developing Solskin, the world’s first moving multi-functional photovoltaic facade system that provides adaptive shading, thanks to novel soft-material pneumatic actuators. The movable solar modules, mounted on a lightweight structure attached to the facade of a building, automatically follow the sun’s trajectory during the day, thus maximizing the electrical PV output. The modules can also provide shade inside the building during hot days. Thanks to Solskin AI, an intelligent control system, the facade can adapt to the environment, using data such as weather forecasts and users’ needs to optimize for cost savings and occupants‘ comfort.
With the combination of shading and PV, Solskin produces up to 40% more electricity and saves up to 80% of a building’s cooling demand compared to conventional systems. In the current energy crisis, building owners seek ways to reduce operational costs and integrate PV in an architecturally pleasing way, for which Solskin is a perfect solution.
Following the success of pilot projects at HiLo, Zurich Soft Robotics has secured fresh capital to grow the team to accelerate the development of Solskin, and make the system commercially ready starting Q3 2023. A 1300 m2 Solskin facade system will be installed on a new production building of Keller Druckmesstechnik AG in Winterthur in 2025.
According to the startup, Solskin presents a major step towards realizing its vision of establishing Solskin as an elegant solution for the building energy transition.
“This investment is a testimony to the hard work of our team and the potential of our innovative product to disrupt the BIPV market”, said Bratislav Svetozarevic, CEO of Zurich Soft Robotics.
Photo L-R: Solskin installation on Keller Druckmesstechnik AG (Strut Architekten, Winterthur) & Solskin close-up image on wall (Architecture and Building Systems).