Building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) systems are photovoltaic (PV) solar energy systems that are specifically designed to blend in with the architecture of a building, combining the economic and sustainability benefits of distributed solar energy generation with the aesthetic appeal of a seamless integration into the overall building design.
BIPV system replaces the conventional building façade materials from different parts of the building’s exterior and significantly improves a building’s economic and ecological balance.
Different types of BIPV panels based on crystalline silicon and thin film technologies that can be incorporated in the buildings include:
- Transparent PV panels
- Flexible PV Panel
- Opaque – Fixed PV panels
BIPV modules can be integrated into a building in different application types, e.g. in Building facades, canopies, pergola’s, roofing, skylights, railings, parking structures, fencing and others.
The feasibility of a BIPV system in a project will depend on various design considerations for e.g., areas available, type of PV module used- Crystalline or Thin film, Building orientation and anticipated energy production.
BIPV modules support structure is the building itself along with other conventional structural framing. It replace’s the conventional façade material like glazing/granite/marble and also provides onsite electricity which will reduce carbon intensive energy consumption, thereby reducing the net installation cost of the system. BIPV System also reduces thermal radiations into buildings and allows natural daylight pass through and further assists to improve sound and heat insulation of the building.
Onsite electricity generation maximizes the energy efficiency by eliminating the transmission losses that generally occur when electricity is supplied through the national grid.
The cost of a BIPV system is similar to a solar PV system, but by replacing the conventional structural glazing material from the building façade, the net installation cost decreases. Along with this benefit, accelerated depreciation and onsite electricity generation the payback period can be as low as 2 to 3 years and free onsite electricity is available through the life of the PV panels.
Many aesthetically elegant and well-integrated BIPV systems have been installed worldwide and have achieved a good market acceptance. Few project example photographs are as shown below.
BIPV system installed in a building envelope provides a highly visible public expression of the company’s environmental commitment and sustainability goals.
The adoption level of BIPV technology is gradually growing in India with increasing number of system awareness and showcase of developments by many solar market players.
With the conventional energy prices rising very fast, BIPV is a very cost effective solution for introduction of solar PV into building envelope and is one the crucial step in starting a Net Zero Energy building community.
Posted by: Rohit Jagnani
First Green Consulting Pvt. Ltd.