What are Building Integrated Photovoltaics or BIPV?

Building integrated photovoltaics or BIPV are materials that are made from photovoltaic material and other building materials such as glass. Today, BIPV comes with wide variety of elegant forms, colours and optical structures of cells, glass and profiles. Designs that use building integrated photovoltaics could enable creativity and modern approach to new way of architectural design.

Comparing with standard PV solutions that are often used in residential or solar farm applications, BIPV provides the architects and civil engineers with completely new possibilities to incorporate solar technology into buildings. Photovoltaic systems and architecture can be combined into one harmonious mixture of design, ecology and economy.

BIPV installation in a building - modern and attractive

BIPV installation in a building – modern and attractive

Photovoltaics are semiconductor materials that produce electricity from sunlight or solar radiation. Other common words for photovoltaics are solar cell or solar panel.

Building integrated photovoltaics could be used to replace conventional building materials in parts of the building envelope such as the roof, skylights, glazings and facades. Some BIPV manufacturers offer tailor made modules. The modules can be tailor made in accordance with dimensions and customer wishes. For instance a selection of cells and positioning can be adapted according to project design specifics, transparency, light control, module design, shading and dimension.

The architects and engineers could create an energy efficient building, more innovative and creative for their prestigious project. Building integrated photovoltaics modules can be incorporated into the building vertically, horizontally or at an angle. BIPV applications in building are new architectural standards for the future by combining elegance with functionality.

Another installation of BIPV on the building's roof

Another installation of BIPV on the building’s roof

Among the benefits of the building integrated photovoltaics over common non-integrated systems are:

  1. BIPV generates electricity while the common building materials don’t. Some BIPV installations even can generate enough energy for the building without external sources.
  2. The initial material cost can be offset by reducing the amount spent on building materials and labour.  Cost that would normally be used to construct the part of the building is replaced by BIPV modules.
  3. Many early installations in a number of buildings worldwide prove success. Provided the building is design with some knowledge of photonics or optoelectronics.
  4. Some countries or regions offer good tariffs for building integrated photovoltaics installations which could be resell to the local electricity providers through available grid.
For instance Malaysia has offer grid connected photovoltaic since 2005

For instance Malaysia has offer grid connected photovoltaic since 2005

Thanks for reading.

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