MiaSole and General Membrane Announce Partnership Agreement

General Membrane SpA, the premiere Italian provider of bitumen, synthetic and metal roof waterproofing membranes, and MiaSolé have entered a strategic partnership agreement. General Membrane will integrate the MiaSolé flexible thin-film CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide) FLEX module—the thin-film lightweight flexible module with an aperture efficiency rating of up to 17%—into their new General Solar PV FLEX, an innovative solution for the waterproofing sector. General Solar PV Flex is composed of MiaSolè flexible modules adhered to a General Membrane bituminous or synthetic waterproofing layer. General Solar PV FLEX becomes an integral part of the roof and offers the double benefit of waterproofing and generation of electricity, and can be used on new and existing flat or sloping roofs as well as roofs with variable geometry, such as curves.

The MiaSolé FLEX module has several features that make it ideal for General Membrane’s waterproof membranes. In addition to its high efficiency rating, the low weight of the module (<2.9kg/m2) allows installation on roofs that cannot support the weight of traditional glass solar panels. The peel-and-stick application allows the FLEX module to be fully integrated into the membrane, conforming to curved surfaces and offering superior resistance to wind. “We are proud of this partnership agreement between our company and MiaSolé that is in accordance with the mission of General Membrane SpA. The role of the roof is changing and modern waterproofing systems must meet, through innovation, the new functions of the roof, ensuring durability. The partnership with MiaSolé and its innovative Flex modules allows us to continue in our proposal of BIPV systems and our commitment towards the environmental solutions”, said Maurizio Codognotto, president and CEO of General Membrane SpA. “The MiaSolé module helps General Membrane create solutions for today’s challenges integrating solar power generation into buildings,” says Anil Vijayendran, vice president of Product Sales and Marketing at MiaSolé. “We are pleased with this partnership with General Membrane, a company that has proven its commitment towards the environment by installing more than 45MW of solar since 2007. Working with General Membrane highlights our commitment to expand the solar energy ecosystem with this integrated General Solar PV FLEX waterproofing membrane”. “This partnership agreement with General Membrane is an example on how the MiaSolé flex module can be used to create unique solutions preserving the integrity of the roof and rewards the choice of Hanergy to invest in flexible CIGS technologies. We are proud of this partnership with General Membrane, a company that already proved its commitment towards the environment installing, since 2007, more than 45MW of solar”, said Li Ming, CEO of Hanergy Europe, MiaSolé’s sales partner in Europe.

French Kings, Solar Power and Sustainability

Louis XIV is not a frequent reference point in today’s discussions about the world’s energy and sustainability paths. However, this longest ruling French monarch (1643-1715) was known as the “Sun King” as he often referred to himself as the center of the universe and was enamored of the sun itself. He also was the builder of Versailles, the construction of which was viewed as very innovative for its day with gardens and roads that Louis XIV arrayed in a pattern to track the sun’s movements.

2014 International Solar Decathlon in Versailles, France. PHOTO: SDEurope

2014 International Solar Decathlon in Versailles, France. PHOTO: SDEurope

With this in mind, it is not such a stretch to understand why the organizers of the 2014 International Solar Decathlon chose the Versailles grounds in which to hold this extraordinary exhibition, from which I have recently returned. The 15-day exhibition featured more than 20 universities from around the world, with Brown University/Rhode Island School of Design and Appalachian State University as the two U.S. competitors.

During each day of the competition, the entrants were subjected to judges’ inspection to assess performance in categories, such as architecture, communications (ability to literally tell their house’s story to press and visitors), energy efficiency, engineering and construction, and sustainability.

PIMA’s sponsorship of Appalachian State and the providing of polyiso insulation by Atlas Roofing to ASU demonstrated the role high-performance insulation plays in the future of the built environment.

However, it is not individual product performance that most impresses the visitor to these extraordinary homes. Yes, they all make exceptional use of the solar power generated by their installed PV systems (they are limited by the rules to only 5 kWh of electricity production from which they must run refrigerators, air conditioning, washers and dryers) and each home has an array of innovative products. But it is the synergistic result of the products’ application combined with the unbelievable ingenuity of the students and professors that excited me the most.

2014 International Solar Decathlon PHOTO: SDEurope

The “decathletes” at the 2014 International Solar Decathlon in Versailles, France. PHOTO: SDEurope

Some buildings were representative of new construction. For example, the ASU entrant was a modular townhome with the potential to assemble into a collective urban building.

In addition, recognizing that existing buildings are the greatest energy challenge, the effort to improve our world’s retrofit capabilities truly caught my eye. For example, the Berlin Rooftop Project focuses on abandoned rooftop space in that city to create studios for younger urban dwellers, while the Dutch (Delft University) addressed the poorly insulated townhomes that make up over 60 percent of Dutch homes by applying a “second skin” while including a garden capability within the home.

The several days I spent at the event were educational, but nothing was more inspiring than speaking with the students themselves. Be they from Chile, France, Germany, Japan, the United States or any of the other countries involved, their passion was compelling. The intellect and commitment of these future architects, engineers, designers and urban planners to finding sustainable solutions for the planet gives me a distinct optimism for our future.