Research Facility


SolarBEAT (Solar Building Elements Application Testing) is an internationally acclaimed research facility for development and full-scale testing of innovative solar energy systems.

Integration in the building skin

The lower section of the Vertigo building forms the foundation for SolarBEAT, an outdoor research environment with facilities for performance monitoring of building-integrated solar energy technologies in a realistic environment.

Dummy buildings and advanced infrastructure are available for testing and refining of novel design concepts for seamless integration in pitched roofs, opaque envelopes or fenestration systems. The research in this SolarBEAT is carried out in collaboration with a growing group of industrial partners from the Brainport region and beyond.

Renewable electricity and solar thermal energy

The outdoor lab is designed to accommodate both solar electricity (PV) and solar thermal projects, as well as the combination of both (PVT). The set-up furthermore also allows us to study the real-world performance of advanced electronic components such as (micro-)inverters and power optimizers. All of this is accomplished by a complex network of electrical infrastructure, buffer tanks, flow controllers and a finely distributed network of sensors for measuring energy yield, temperature, heat flux, etc. SolarBEAT also hosts a calibrated, high-quality weather station for accurate characterization of irradiance, temperature and wind conditions.

Analyze, improve, display

Most SolarBEAT projects undergo a cycle of at least one year. This involves an in-depth analysis of the physical performance of the full-scale system exposed to real operational conditions throughout the seasons. The design and control of the prototypes can then be further finetuned on the basis of these observations and additional simulation studies. Finally, SolarBEAT also serves as showcase by letting potential clients and the general public experience the look-and-feel of the next generation building-integrated renewable energy systems.

The monitoring and analysis of the measurements is partly in the hands of Master thesis students, PDEng trainees or PhD candidates of TU/e and other institutions. There is considerable interaction with research and teaching activities of the TU/e Department of the Built Environment (unit Building Physics and Services and the chair of Building Performance), with a particular emphasis on building-integrated technologies as an essential part of the impending energy transition. Interdisciplinary research on the acquired data (e.g., interaction with modeling for grid operation and stability) is covered in the context of the focus area Systems Integration of the Eindhoven Institute for Renewable Energy Systems

SolarBEAT is a joint initiative between TU/e and TNO. The research and development activities are carried out in collaboration with a range of companies from both the solar and construction industry. Interested? Please get in touch with Roel Loonen.