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Solar Vineyard Chapel

Margot Krasojevic Architects

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Margot, Margot Krasojevic Architects

Project Name

Solar Vineyard Chapel

Construction Cost



HoldenManz Wine Estate


  • Electrical Engineer: EDP

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Project Description

Solar Chapel at the HoldenManz WineEstate, Franschhoek, Cape Town. The project utilizes the same solar panel technology used on the farm to clad a dynamic expanding wedding chapel's roof structure. The vertiginous mountains within the estate are reflected in the beton brut primary structure off which the concentrator Fresnel lenses, solar cells and holographic filtered panels are suspended. The solar panel arrangement is similar to the angular configuration of a butterfly’s wing which receives more exposure to solar rays affording a maximum electrical output efficiency, the steel frame sits within a track laid into the primary structure, expanding and contracting as spatially required, enabling a further rearrangement of the concentrator photovoltaic cluster. The concentrator lenses use fewer solar cells to harness the same solar energy as twice the amount without the implementation of fresnel lenses, the lenses can be programmed to follow the sun in tandem as it moves across the sky taking full advantage of available sunlight, the sliding steel frames onto which they are supported allow for more movement and maximum exposure to solar rays. Because it is vital to keep concentrator photovoltaics cool due to high concentration ratios introducing heat problems, this is when solar radiation is concentrated, so is the amount of heat produced, reducing cell efficiencies with temperatures increase, higher temperatures also threaten the long-term stability of solar cells this short term proficiency is expensive and negates the sustainability of the design, therefore it is essential for the solar cells to be kept cool when arranged within a concentrator framework, requiring sophisticated heat synch cooling designs, in this case partly pumping and using capillary action to deliver the vineyards water irrigation system along the channels of the solar panel frames, the recessed sections use this capillary action to draw water from the open pool reservoir within the chapel itself, preventing the evaporation of water through movement along the canopy structure.
The chapel sits within the vineyard amongst an array of existing solar screens, with the help of the holographic panels it also concentrates and intensifies the solar energy which can be stored and accessed as and when required. The chapel is used for religious fellowship and is a free standing structure epitomising the duality of the monumental context and the process of wine making.
Concentrator photovoltaics (CPV)
A CPV system uses mirrors and lenses to concentrate sunlight, the Solar Chapel concentrated Fresnel lenses capture the solar energy shining on a fairly large area then focus that energy onto a smaller area, where the solar cell is located. Concentrators increase the electrical energy output by 50%.
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