2 Japanese companies team up on solar energy-producing balcony

Courtesy of Taisei Corp.
An image of a balcony installed with solar panels

Major construction company Taisei Corp. and chemical company Kaneka Corp. have teamed up to develop a “power-generating balcony,” in which solar panels are installed on the railings of balconies of apartment buildings and houses.

The companies said the new product produces the same output as conventional solar panels installed on rooftops and other places, and high-efficiency power generation will last for more than 30 years.

The product consists of solar panels set between sheets of tempered glass. It also features easy installment, as it can be done from the room side of the balcony.

The majority of solar energy production on apartment buildings makes use of roof space. However, with the advent of towering high rises, various other equipment is located on roofs and space is very often limited for solar panels.

Utilizing balcony railings for solar panels has the advantage of enabling more power generation the higher the building gets. The two companies estimate that installing this system on all floors of the average 23-story tower-type building can generate 14.6 times more power than solar panels installed on the entire rooftop.

The Tokyo metropolitan government is considering making it mandatory to install solar panels on all new residential buildings starting in April 2025, and the municipal government of Kawasaki is also leaning that way. This is adding to the momentum to promote solar panels on new housing.

Taisei and Kaneka are seeking to meet such demand while contributing to the reducing of greenhouse gas emissions.