A Detailed Overview of Building Integrated Photovoltaics or BIPV
Do you think a house’s rooftop is the only place to install solar panels? Well, we’d say – think again.
You would be amazed to know that there’s a recent technological development – BIPV (Building integrated photovoltaics) – that has made it possible to install solar panels in almost every section of your house that receives direct sunlight.
With the increasingly harmful effects of fossil fuel consumption, people, government, and businesses are taking steps to adopt a sustainable way of living. For this purpose, efficient use of solar energy to meet power requirements is imperative.
Building integrated photovoltaics, or BIPV, is one of the most trending methods of capturing maximum sunlight to produce solar energy.
Let’s take a detailed look at different aspects of this system.
What is BIPV?
BIPV is a solar power generation system that is integrated into the outer structure of a building to produce sustainable electricity. It is designed to replace conventional construction materials such as glass, roof, and siding.
Apart from its operational benefits, the BIPV system offers an excellent opportunity for the construction industry to customise the design of solar panels. This way, people can go solar without affecting the aesthetic appeal of their home.
The BIPV system is strategically developed to perform dual functions in a building. This includes generating solar electricity to meet power requirements and replacing the traditional building material to perform the following functions:
- – Thermal insulation
- – Protection from weather changes
- – Noise protection
- – Allow natural light into the house
Technologies for BIPV System
The building integrated photovoltaics system functions similarly to conventional rooftop solar panels for generating electricity.
This includes capturing sunlight to create electric current and then transferring it to the inverter for powering electrical appliances. However, the technology for BIPV solar panels differs from rooftop solar systems.
Presently, building-integrated solar modules use either crystalline silicon solar cells (c-Si) or thin films such as cadmium telluride (CdTe), amorphous silicon (a-Sci) and copper indium gallium selenide.
For proper illumination inside the building, appropriate spacing is maintained between the opaque c-Si solar modules or thin films are made transparent. However, the increase in transparency negatively affects the efficiency of modules because the photovoltaic layer captures less sunlight.
Applications of BIPV System
Now that you know the technologies for building integrated solar modules, let’s look at the areas where you can apply this system. The common applications of this power generation system are:
- – Building facade: These solar cells can replace or complement traditional spandrel glass. Although these spaces have limited access to direct sunlight, the large area of the building helps compensate for less power generation.
- – Rooftop: Roofing shingles are an excellent option to replace traditional roofs such as asbestos, tin, etc.
- – Skylight system: This is another space to use for building integrated solar panels. The placement of transparent solar modules is an economical way of enhancing the look of the building and generating solar energy.
Benefits of Installing BIPV
Here are the benefits of installing a building integrated solar system:
- – You don’t need extra land area to produce solar power using this system.
- – It reduces power consumption in the premises by providing access to sufficient daylight and reducing the load on the cooling equipment.
- – Since it applies to roofs and facades, it provides ROI in the form of solar power generation.
- – Homeowners can get preferred monthly rent as this system increases the value of a domestic setting.
- – The flexibility and diverse applications of building integrated solar modules provide an excellent opportunity for builders and designers to enhance the visual appeal of the building.
Steps to Design the BIPV System
Before designing this system, you need to determine the building’s power consumption, safety codes, orientation and location, etc. Further, you need to take the following steps:
- – Consider and apply an energy-conscious design for the building to reduce the load of the power utility.
- – Choose between a utility grid connection and a stand-alone solar system to meet the high demand for electricity during peak hours.
- – In case the maximum power output of the system falls behind the requirement of the house during peak hours, consider installing an optimum capacity battery.
- – To improve the efficiency of building integrated solar modules, you must consider providing appropriate ventilation. This is important because the increase in temperature reduces the conversion of sunlight into the usable current.
- – To optimise the system’s efficiency, you can use the heat produced by the modules as a solar thermal resource to offer pre-heating of the air before it enters the building.
- – Use the semi-transparent solar modules or opaque crystalline silicon modules appropriately at the facade, skylight, and roof to provide proper lighting. You must also consider placing them in a way that reduces the power load during the cooling application.
- – During the designing phase of the building, ensure that the modules get maximum exposure to direct sunlight. This is a crucial step that helps you decide on the direction and orientation of the building to avoid the chances of shading.
- – A proper tilt of the solar modules can help maximise power generation. Therefore, instead of constructing the building with the maximum vertical facade, take steps to have tilted structures for BIPV modules.
- – This system is relatively new in the construction industry. Therefore, it is essential to employ professionals with proven experience in handling such projects.
BIPV is a new system of power generation. Although it is catching people’s attention rapidly, construction companies need to take the initiative of providing innovative building materials.
By complementing traditional building solutions with this system, businesses can encourage people to use this system that not only offers security and beauty to their homes but also combats the problem of rising electricity bills.
Q. What is the BIPV system?
It is a device or a system that is seamlessly installed at the outside structure of the building to generate solar energy.
Q. What is BIPV?
BIPV is an acronym for building integrated photovoltaics. It means using specifically formulated PV modules for the facade, roof, glass, and skylight system of the building to produce electricity.
Q. What is a BIPV solar panel?
These solar panels are made with either thin films such as cadmium telluride, amorphous silicon and copper indium gallium selenide or crystalline silicon solar cells that absorb the sunlight to convert it into electricity.